Week 4 (April 13 - 27)

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Pittman & Davis    

Grand Pacific I Grand Pacific II Grand Pacific III Grand Pacific IV 2002 Summary

Grand Pacific IV - April 13 - 27

Saturday, April 13 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Sunday, April 14 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean 

Monday, April 15 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Tuesday, April 16 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Wednesday, April 17 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean – Cross International Dateline 

Wednesday, April 17 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Thursday, April 18 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Friday, April 19 – Honolulu, Hawaii – 9 AM-11 PM 

Saturday, April 20 – Lahaina, Hawaii – 7 AM-3:30 PM 

Sunday, April 21 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Monday, April 22 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Tuesday, April 23 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Wednesday, April 24 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Thursday, April 25 – San Francisco, California, USA – 8 AM-4:45 PM

Friday, April 26 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Saturday, April 27 – Los Angeles, California, USA – Arrive 6 AM

Saturday, April 13 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Don’t expect much excitement today…we didn’t even leave the room until 2:30pm.  Remember, we jumped ahead three hours, so that’s pretty much our usual time.  However, we did sleep longer than usual to make up for lost time the past week.  We heard absolutely no noise from the corridor at all and we were awake several times from 7:30am onward.  Maybe people are seasick?  It’s a bit less rough than it was overnight, but it’s probably enough to make a few people queasy.

There was a brunch in the Dining Room today that was same as the previous ones, but we didn’t get up in time to partake in it.  Our only option for food was the Trident Grill, so we had burgers and grilled cheese.  It’s very cold and windy today, so of course, the big sliding doors to the pool are open.  We have yet to figure out what the criteria are for closing them or setting them to open and close automatically.  Let’s just say that they should have been closed today.

Jeff’s wife, Kim, and their son joined the ship yesterday.  Kim was the Fitness Director when we first started sailing and became the Social Hostess when her original position was taken over by the company that runs the spa.  She is probably the perkiest person one is likely to meet and she seemed thrilled to see us again.  She was shocked that we are on the entire World Cruise because, “You look so fresh and most people are fairly bedraggled by now.”  Several people have said that sort of thing.  Nikki said that they always notice how people start to get more crotchety as the World Cruise progresses.  We’d guess that most couples aren’t accustomed to spending 24 hours a day together.

For some odd reason, a woman was asleep on a lounge chair, covered in blankets, right in the middle of the walkway (what else is new?).  Get a room already.  We only stayed outside long enough to finish eating, then went back to the cabin to try to organize some of our stuff into boxes.  The one huge box we packed is so heavy we can barely lift it.  It contains all of the menus and other paperwork we have collected, plus most of the gifts we have received for being on the World Cruise.

There is a “Housekeeping Tea” for World Cruise guests in the Dining Room at 4:00pm, but we are not interested in participating.  Frankly, we’re a bit tired of participating in all of these contrived reasons for a get together with people we don’t even know.  But, we’re sure lots of guests love this sort of thing.

Tonight’s dress code is Formal.  That means it is time for another Crystal Society Cocktail Party.  We arrived just as the last of the line was entering the room.  Lisa, the Crystal Society Supervisor from the Los Angeles office, pretended to know who we are.  Well, she was fairly honest when she said she recognized our names from the guest list at the Bon Voyage Party.  We sat in our usual corner and chatted with the Japanese Deputy Captain Takeshi Oda.  He wanted to know how we liked Japan and was thrilled that we loved it.  He has been very friendly to us this entire cruise.  We’ve seen him on several cruises before this, as well.  We always say that he is the spy from NYK because there is always just one Japanese officer and all of the rest are Norwegian.

Harry came over during the conversation and sat down to join us after the Deputy Captain left.  Nikki sat down for a few minutes, but had to keep mingling.  She was amazed that we got the cabin assignment in the center of the ship so quickly.  She said she put “VIP! VIP!” on the booking, but she was shocked that it worked.  We made a dinner date with Harry for the first April 17th in Jade Garden, assuming we can get a reservation.

During the recognition for people with a high number of cruises, Lisa said that the President of Crystal and Cindy Litzie, the Crystal Society Director, had flown in just to surprise her with her Platinum pin.  They did surprise her at one of the parties, but they did not fly in for that purpose.  He was here for the President’s Cruise.  Lisa said they have only made two of those pins because only one other person has 100 or more cruises at this point.


Escargots “Bourguignon”
Assorted Seafood Cocktail on Crisp Lettuce Chiffonade, with Sauce Louis XIII
Crackling Salad with Smoked Duck Breast Tossed in French Dressing with Pine Nuts
Citrus Fruit in an Orange Basket, Perfumed with Crème de Cassis

From the Soup Kettle
French Onion Soup
Beef Consommé with Fois Gras Profiteroles
Vichyssoise with Bell Pepper Mousse

Panache of Mixed Greens with Red Leaf Lettuce, Chopped Egg, and Dijon Mustard Dressing
Vegetable Salad Niçoise

Pasta Special
Tortiglione Boscaiole

Salad Entrée
Scallops Salad

Main Fares
Pink Roasted Rack of Lamb
Broiled Fresh Dourade Fillet
Coq au Vin
Grilled Veal Medallions
Grilled Farmland Chicken Breast

Vegetarian Selection
French Onion Soup

Soufflé Grand Marnier with Sauce Negresco
Gateau Opera with Vanilla Ice Cream
Glace aux Framboises – Raspberry Ice Parfait
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Sugar-Free Vanilla Profiteroles with Diet Chocolate Sauce
Sugar-Free Spicy Apple Sauce Custard
Petit Fours and Chocolate Truffles
Butter Pecan Yogurt

Food review:  Everything was satisfactory, nothing exciting.  Augusto ordered Chateaubriand for our main course and it was enough for four people.  Of course, he put all of it on our two plates.  The meat was very good quality, but it had a Béarnaise sauce rather than the demi glace that is usually served with it.  Also, it wasn’t cooked enough to suit us.

We chatted with Jerry and Ger for so long that we almost didn’t make it to the show.  That is even with it starting fifteen minutes later than usual because of the Crystal Society Party.  Jerry spoke appreciatively about his sister who is so kind to him.  Ger is starting to count the days until he goes home.  He is leaving the same day we are.

Augusto said that the World Cruise Housekeeping Tea this afternoon was so poorly organized that it was embarrassing.  They seem to be running out of ideas and are just grasping at straws to provide some entertainment.

Tonight’s entertainment is the lavish production show “Symphony of Nations.”  We sat in the dead center of the room to see it the way it is meant to be seen.  It didn’t matter, we still don’t like it.  But, it got a standing ovation from the meager audience.  The performance quality is fine, we just don’t like this show.  We have decided that this cast is one of the best ones we have seen here in years.  There is no one who is so bad they stand out or who does anything annoying as there usually is.  All of them are pleasant to look at, as well. 

The weather calmed down a bit before dinner and the motion of the ship had subsided to almost nothing.  But, once we went to bed around midnight, the wind had picked up considerably, so there is again some rocking and rolling going on.  During his speech at the Crystal Society Party tonight, the Captain said, “The moment the ship starts moving all I hear are complaints.  Why don’t you just book a vacation in a hotel if you don’t want any movement?”  He said it nicely, but we’re sure he meant it.  That’s exactly how we feel.  What is he supposed to do about it?

We each received a wooden Crystal Cruises pen in a matching wood box from the Crystal Society.  We assume everyone with two or more cruises received this gift for being on this Crystal Society Cruise. 

Sunday, April 14 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

It is very dark and rainy this morning.  Well, noon, but that’s still morning to us.  The water is choppy, but we’re sailing along rather smoothly.  The Captain clarified his decision to change course for better weather by saying he’s avoiding rough seas, not the rain.

Lunch today is a choice between the Dining Room and the Cuisine of the Sun buffet on deck.  We don’t particularly like this buffet, but since it is raining, we assume the Dining Room will be packed.  So, after a bit of wandering around, we went up to the buffet.

Most of the tables under the glass roof were full, but the Lido was mostly empty.  No one was in the buffet line and we arrived just about 30 minutes into it.  The salads offered are a weird mix of unrecognizable foods from Mediterranean countries.  The ones we do recognize, we don’t like. 

The hot entrees and grilled items are more “normal.”  There are skewers of chicken, pork and lamb, for example.  They must be a curry of some sort because everything is yellow, but the flavor is lost somewhere along the line.  The hot foods are sort of lost to us because we would consider most of it inedible.  They also have things like lasagna, rice pilaf, and such, so there is no danger of starvation.  But, there is a lot of stuff we wouldn’t eat on a bet, including some sort of casserole with mussels still in their shells mixed in all the goo.  Someone must like it or they wouldn’t still be offering it and it does look nice.

One big problem with holding these buffets during inclement weather is that they close the roof completely.  Picture the atmosphere in there with a heated pool and two huge BBQ grills going full blast.  It smells like grease everywhere, including in the hallways on Deck 10.  We sat in the relatively empty Lido, which was rather pleasant.

After lunch we browsed through the shops, but didn’t buy anything because it was too busy.  That means there was one other person in there besides us and the single salesperson was engaged with them. 

By 2:30pm, we can see from the Bridge Cam that the ship is headed into a huge rainstorm.  Looks like fun!

We have a dinner in Prego tonight for our 25th Milestone.  The other guests should be the same ones as for our 20th since we’re all still here racking up cruise credits at the same rate.  By the way, our official count of cruises at the end of the World Cruise will be 27.  We have not yet cashed in our 25th Milestone, so we are getting behind in using our benefits.  We have a feeling that they will revamp the program to stop offering such generous spending credits because it is causing all sorts of problems and ill will.

Tonight’s dress code is Informal.  We arrived at Prego at the same time as Captain Oda, so there was quite a lot of fawning going on.  Most of the guests had already been seated.  We sat at a table for twelve with the two of us at the head of the table by the window.  As mentioned, we expected to see many of the same people from our 20th Milestone dinner, but we didn’t recognize anyone at either table.  Lara sat at the opposite end from us while Nikki held up our side.  Captain Oda and Lisa hosted the other table, which was a bit smaller.

We were served a special fixed menu again.  Our only choice was fish or veal.  Everyone chose the fish, which caused somewhat of a delay while they tried to come up with enough.  No one announced that, we’re just assuming.  You might think they would catch on that veal isn’t the best choice for a fixed menu, but we highly doubt that they will.

When dinner started, one person next to Lara was missing.  She said to go ahead and start, which we did.  Then Dr. John, the house drunk, staggered in.  He couldn’t quite figure out where he was supposed to go, but eventually someone figured out he belonged with the group.  As he tried to take his seat, he staggered and almost fell in the lap of the very proper woman seated next to him.  She was not amused and rolled her eyes in the direction of her husband.  Honestly, if we had been seated next to him, we might have left, but she didn’t say anything.

Dr. John promptly fell asleep/passed out until the first course was served.  Thereupon, he woke up enough to eat half of it before conking out again.  That course of action repeated itself with every course.  Nikki leaned over and said, “I didn’t know Lara was that boring.”  Poor Lara had to pretend all of this wasn’t happening while she tried to keep the conversation going at that end of the table.   He missed one course because he was engrossed in some sort of dream or perhaps a weird attempt to regain consciousness, we’re not sure which.  The best part was that after the sherbet course was served, he thought that was dessert and left!  Too funny.  It’s amazing he even remembers he has an appointment, let alone that he pulls himself together enough to get there.  We have never seen him without a drink in hand, even at 10:00am.

Other than that, the evening was uneventful.  The food was good, except some of it was too fancy for many of us.  Only about 1/3 of the guests ate the grilled fois gras that was served with the duck ravioli.  Most people were whining about being full after the appetizer was served.

Party's over, get out.  Nikki, Lara, and Captain Oda did their job in a sort of reverse receiving line while Lisa just stood there with no clue what to do.  Everyone knows the first three, so it’s only sensible that they would get all of the attention.  We all received a Crystal Cruises pocket flashlight.  We were supposed to receive copies of the menu because all the names of the guests in attendance are printed in them.  But, nobody bothered to hand them out as we left.  We assume they will appear on the mail clip shortly.

We stopped by the Front Desk to turn in our RSVP card for the World Cruise lunch in Honolulu.  We declined.  We have heard that many people are not going, having been fed up by the waste of time in Singapore.  That and being in a familiar port where most people already know where to go and what to do makes this not the best choice for this sort of outing.

Billy thought we snubbed him because we walked by the desk and went up to Jessica instead.  He was talking to Ben, one of the dancers, and we didn’t want to interrupt anything.  We assured him that it wasn’t intentional.  Ben seemed happy to see us although we have only spoken to him once before.

We were trying to figure out if we would come out with any credits left after the expensive Japan tours, but they haven’t all been posted yet.  As far as we can tell, we will still have about $1,500 left, now that they have given us the credits they overlooked previously.  Not bad to go on a cruise for 100 days and break even on our account.  Of course, we still have to pay the deposits for the future bookings, but that’s a different account anyway.

Tonight’s entertainment is “The Female Entertainer of the Year, West End Star of Evita and Cats, Vocal Sensation,” Jacqui Scott.  FYI, the female entertainer of the year is on Crystal Cruises, not some fabulous award in New York or something.  Still, we have heard that she is very good.  Well, she was very good, but we both became bored about halfway through.  She would probably be great in a musical, which is what she is known for.  But, holding her own on stage isn’t her strong point.  We really can’t put a finger on why it didn’t work for us because she sang popular songs and has a great voice.  One thing we absolutely hate is when singers try to induce audience participation and she did this with her final song.  After that she was presented with Crystal’s Female Entertainer of the Year award by the Captain.  Don’t get too excited, the Best Male award went to Gary Hunter who has been doing the same act for ten years that we know of.

Steven and Keiko had door duty on our way out.  He wanted to talk, but the crowd started to come out and run him over, so we left him to do his job.

The weather is still the same.  Just a bit rocky, nothing much, and rainy.


Monday, April 15 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Today is pretty much the same as yesterday.  Maybe not quite as dark and cold, but very cloudy for most of the day.  The ride is smooth though.

We made it to lunch in the Dining Room today without much effort, so we’re prepared for another hour forward before Honolulu.


Crab and Green Asparagus Quiche with Herb-Yogurt Sauce
Avocado Cocktail with Baby Shrimp and Yogurt Orange Dressing
Vegetable Summer Rolls with Thai Vinaigrette
Iced Fruit Cup with Nectarines and Blueberry Yogurt Topping

From the Soup Kettle
Chicken Broth “Mille Fanti”
Roasted Italian Tomato Soup with Basil
Chilled Cream of Peanut Butter and Coconut Milk

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce with Bell Peppers, Asparagus, Bacon Bits, and Plum Tomatoes

Pasta Special
Rigatoni al Tonno

Salad Entrees
Chicken Caesar Salad
Farmer’s Goat Cheese Salad

Main Fares
Fisherman’s Platter
Sandwich of the Day – The Grilled Chili Burger
Grilled Cajun Seasoned Turkey Medallions

Beef Goulash Hungarian Style
Lunch in a Bowl – Southern Corn Chicken Soup

Vegetarian Selection
Gratinated Polenta

Hazelnut Raspberry Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
Cassis Chiffon Pie
Meringue Glace au Chocolate
Sugar-Free Lemon Delight

Food review:  The soup tasted like nothing, almost as though something had been left out.  We had to send both entrees back because they were raw in the center.  The burger was still showing raw meat on the outside, so there was no excuse for it.  Otherwise, both were satisfactory, but a bit boring.  We both had frozen yogurt for dessert, which was excellent.

Jerry, Ger and Augusto all claimed that they missed us last night.  The “What’s that?” woman from the table next to us ordered the Chateaubriand she saw us have two nights ago.  We should have bought a big screen in Japan to put between our table and hers to prevent her from spying on us.

The sun came out a bit after lunch.  It also seems that the temperature is climbing a bit.  We were able to leave our verandah door open for the first time in a month.  We spent the rest of the afternoon watching TV and computing in the room.

Tonight’s dress code is Casual.  This is the first time we can recall a casual night not being on a port day unless it is 50’s Night.  We’re not complaining, just commenting.


Italian Prosciutto with Sweet Melon Slices and Polenta Crackers
Lemon-Herb Smoked Salmon on Yukon Gold Hash Brown Potatoes and Caviar Sauce
Homemade Vegetable Terrine with Tarragon Vinaigrette
Iced Pineapple, Strawberry, Mango, and Banana Cup

From the Soup Kettle
Cream of Fresh Herbs with Sliced Mushrooms
Duck Consommé Flavored with Star Anis and Romaine Chiffonade
Chilled Banana-Strawberry Soup with Low-Fat Yogurt

Heart of Garden Lettuce with Orange Slices and Blue Grapes
Marinated Plum Tomatoes with Mozzarella Cheese and Basil Olive Oil

Pasta Special
Spaghetti Frutti di Mare

Salad Entrée
Beef Tenderloin Salad

Main Fares
Broiled Alaskan King Crab Legs
Broiled Halibut Fillet
Old Fashioned Chicken in the Pot
Grilled Black Angus Tenderloin Steak

Vegetarian Selection
Fresh Artichoke Bottom

Frozen Milk Chocolate and Amaretto Mousse Pie with Vanilla Sauce
Pistachio Napoleon Slice with Chocolate Rum Sauce
Orange Angel Food Cake with Fruit Sauce
Sugar-Free Apple Compote
Sugar-Free Puff Pastry Filled with Tropical Fruit
Homemade Cookies
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Non-Fat Cappuccino Frozen Yogurt

Food review:  The cold soup was very good, but the tomato salad was just satisfactory.  The serving size gets smaller every time we order it.  Our halibut entrée was outstanding.  Both desserts were edible, but that’s all.

Augusto yelled at Jerry for bringing out a special order before he was ready for it.  Our opinion is that it was not justified.  They always do it this way and it has never been a problem before.  Jerry was furious.  Ger thought it was tacky of Augusto to make a scene in front of everyone, which we agree with completely.

Augusto insisted on making pasta for us tomorrow, but we didn’t like the option he offered.  We ended up settling on fettuccine Alfredo with turkey in it rather than the tuna he wanted to serve us.  We also ordered a chocolate mousse cake for dessert just because he kept asking if we want a soufflé again.  We like them, but we've had enough of them.

Tonight’s entertainment is “Australia’s own Liberace, Variety Pianist,” Barry Tognolini.  Technically, his show was fine, but he shouldn’t have tried to talk to the audience.  Whenever he did, it was forced and uncomfortable.  When we first arrived Bill asked Felix if the show was better than doing laundry.  All Felix said was, “The guests in the first show seemed to like it.  But, I don’t like any of the shows.”  At the end of the show, he came back and said, “I guess you should have done laundry instead.”  FYI, there were less than 100 people in attendance and the Cruise Director alluded to the fact that there were only this many because it wasn't classical for once.


Tuesday, April 16 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

The weather today is exactly as it was yesterday; overcast, not too cold, and a smooth ride.  Our first activity, as usual, is to go to the Dining Room for lunch.


Shrimp Tart with Plum Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Pesto
Chick Peas, Garlic, and Parsley Dip with Pita Bread and Corn Chips
Assorted Fresh Fruit Cup with Grenadine

From the Soup Kettle
Cream of Parsnip with Garlic Croutons
Market Broth – Chicken Meat, Vegetable Brunoise, Avocado Cubes, and Tomato Concassé
Chilled Cream of Raspberry with Low-Fat Yogurt

Marinated Ham, Cheese and Black Bean Salad , Topped with Crisp Tortilla Chip

Pasta Special
Linguini with Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

Salad Entrees
Tuna Cobb Salad
Salad of Grilled Barbeque Chicken Breast

Main Fares
Salmon Piccata
Country Fried Chicken
Sandwich of the Day – The Union Square Sandwich
Minute Steak with Three Peppercorn Crust
Lunch in a Bowl – Mediterranean Fish Pot

Vegetarian Selection

Boston Cream Pie à la Mode
Apple Fingers with Vanilla Ice Cream
Creamy Mango Cheese Cake
Sugar-Free Fruit Tartlet

Food review:  They seem to have lost their touch with the cold soups.  As with the one last night, this one also tasted as though something was missing.  We had the pasta selection as the main course.  It was edible, but not great.  We used to survive on pasta here in the past, so we’re glad the food variety has improved so we don’t have to do that anymore.  The pasta just isn’t all that good these days.  Dessert was very good.

Augusto confirmed our pasta for tonight and said that the chef insists on making chocolate mousse in a glass rather than as a cake.  We would never order plain chocolate mousse, but it should be edible at least.

Jerry told us about the cruise after 9/11 that was cancelled.  There were no guests except 40 men they flew in at the last minute from England to do some maintenance work.  So, the crew had the run of the ship just like guests would, for 14 days.  He only had to work three hours a day and ended up with four entire days off.  The crew was surprised when Crystal paid them an amount equal to having 900 guests on board, which he thought was very generous.  He said because of that everyone worked extra hard on the day they had to do a thorough cleaning before the guests arrived.  The cruise after the one that was cancelled had less than 150 guests on board, but following that it was back to the 600 range, where it has stayed.

Remember that we mentioned a while back that the cruise following this one is oversold?  Well, yes, technically it is, but as it turns out 250 of the guests are travel agents invited by Crystal who will come and go on shorter segments, so the actual guest count is just a bit higher than it is now.  Remember what we said about those Value Collection fares?  Be wary of booking those cruises or do not expect the ship to be as pleasant and uncrowded as it usually is.  Even the staff readily admits that they can’t handle it when the guest count is over 800.

We stayed in the cabin all afternoon with the verandah door open for some fresh air.  It’s nice to hear the sound of the water, too.

Tonight’s dress code is Informal.  We stopped off at the Front Desk to have Billy deliver some photos we took of some guests on the China trip.  He’s excited about Honolulu, but has a completely wrong impression of what it is like.  He’ll find out soon enough.


Jumbo Prawns on Marinated Crisp Vegetables and Creamy Vinaigrette
Seafood Ravioli in Lemon-Ginger Sauce
Tossed Garden Greens in Walnut Vinaigrette with herb Croutons and Wild Mushrooms
Chilled Exotic Fruit Cup with Orange Curacao

From the Soup Kettle
Beef Consommé with Tomato Spinach Royal
Creamy Green Pea Soup with Herb Croutons
Chilled Cream of Apricot with Low-Fat Yogurt

Crunchy Red Leaf Lettuce, Served with Belgian Endive and Breaded Onion Rings
Assorted Summer Salad with Feta Cheese, Garbanzo Beans, and Spring Onions

Pasta Special
Pennette Rigate with Osso Bucco Sauce

Salad Entrée
Marinated Steak Salad

Main Fares
Herb Marinated Grilled Australian Lamb Chops
Grilled Barramundi Fillet
Honey Glazed Roasted Chicken Half
Sautéed Veal Scaloppini

Vegetarian Selection
Vegetable Crespelle

Viennese Chocolate Delight with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Georgia Pecan Cheesecake with Vanilla Ice Cream
Banana Cream Tart with Vanilla Frangelico Sauce
Sugar-Free Rice Cream with Fresh Fruit
Sugar-Free Ice Coupe Denmark
Homemade Cookies
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Freshly Frozen, Non-Fat Cappuccino Yogurt

Food review:  The pea soup was very good.  We had Augusto’s tableside cooking for our entrée.  Basically, it was fettuccini Alfredo with thinly sliced turkey in it.  It would have been better with the grilled chicken we originally suggested, but it was good.  We ended up with chocolate mousse for dessert, much to Jerry’s disgust because he knew what it was we really wanted.  The mousse was adequate, but we wouldn’t order it again.

Ger was amusing tonight.  Nothing we can really describe, you had to be there.  It sort of continued from the weird conversation we had at lunch.  Dave was escorted to the table by one of the female assistant waiters tonight, which is what started the whole thing.  Again, you had to be there.

Tonight’s entertainment is a repeat performance by the concert pianist from China, Tian Jiang.  The shows are earlier tonight, before dinner, so no matter what the offering was, we would not have attended.  They changed the schedule because we go an hour forward again tonight, but we can see no reason why that makes any difference.


Wednesday, April 17 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean – Cross International Dateline

The weather today is nearly perfect; not a cloud in the sky and about 70 degrees.  The ride is a bit rocky due to the wind, but it does nothing except remind us we are on a ship and not in a hotel.  We received certificates stating that we crossed the International Dateline and will experience Wednesday, April 17th, twice.

We got up in time for lunch and went to the Lido to have the Asian selection, Pineapple Chicken, which was very good.  On the way we chatted with our neighbors, Doris and Donna who are recovering from the respiratory infection everyone got in China.   Everyone received a letter saying that the previously announced shipping arrangements in San Francisco were cancelled by Customs because it “violates the Jones Act.”  Crystal can’t figure out how offloading packages has anything to do with transporting passengers, but the gist of it is that Customs can’t be bothered having agents available that day.  We don’t care since we plan to carry everything off in L.A., but many people live closer to San Francisco and had planned to ship from there.  We know there are many guests disembarking there, so it doesn’t make much sense that packages can’t be offloaded.  So, we now have the option of shipping from Hawaii.  Last time we checked, Hawaii was part of the U.S., so what’s the difference if we ship from there or San Francisco?  Isn’t bureaucracy fun?

Our menu from the 25th Milestone dinner in Prego was delivered today.  Better late than never, so here it is:


Avocado Aubergine Tower with Prawns
with Sweet Chili and Parsley Oil

Gratinated Celery Soup
in Rosemary Flavored Basket

Duck Ravioli in Light Honey Glaze
with Fresh Fois Gras

Melon-Lime Granite

Milk-Fed Wisconsin Veal Chop with Wild Mushrooms
Stuffed with Mozzarella and Prosciutto, Served with Roasted
Fennel, Potato Gnocchi and Light Lemon Gravy


Baked Fresh Sea Bass Fillet in Sun Dried Tomato Crust
On Mediterranean  Vegetables, Roasted Potatoes
and Thyme Beurre Blanc

Dark and White Mocha Tower
with Vanilla Flavored Orange Sauce

As usual, we just hung out in the cabin all afternoon.  It’s still a little too chilly to sit outside for any length of time, but by tomorrow we expect it will be in the low 70’s.

Tonight’s dress code is Casual. 

We are having dinner in Jade Garden tonight, but since there is a Guest Chef menu in the Dining Room, here is the menu:


Special Guest Chef Menu
Featuring the Cuisine of
Andre Soltner – Restaurant Lutece

Chausson aux Crabes – Crabmeat Turnovers with Sauce Bearnaise

Minestrone des Grisons

Endive and Walnut Salad with Black Olives

Main Courses
Filet de Bass Rôti, Sauce Vin Rouge
Canard aux Framboises

Gateau de Poires au Caramel

In addition to Guest Chef Andre Soltner’s special menu items,
we offer these choices from the main galley:

Smoked Sturgeon and Baby Back Potato Stuffed with Malossol Caviar
Sautéed Chicken Liver and Mushrooms in a Port Wine Glaze on a Mesclun of Spring Greens
Iced Fruit Cup with Strawberries, Plums, and Grand Marnier

From the Soup Kettle
Consommé Double Bretonne
Cold Soup of Yogurt and Guava

Tossed Garden Greens with Walnuts, Melon Bits, and Pineapple-Papaya Dressing

Pasta Special
Tagliatelle with Eggs, Parsley, Olive Oil and Parmesan Cheese

Salad Entrée
Roasted Turkey Breast Salad

Main Fares
Roasted Lamb Shanks
Grilled Piedmont Rib Eye Steak
Pan Fried Chicken Scaloppini

Vegetarian Selection
Grilled Asparagus with Hollandaise

Chocolate Pecan Caramel Short Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
Pistachio Profiteroles with Chocolate Ice Cream
Sugar-Free Lemon Wheel
Sugar-Free Pineapple Pudding
Homemade Cookies
Assortment of Fruit in Season

Wet met Harry in Palm Court for drinks and Barry (the Liberace of Australia from last night) joined us.  Barry isn’t particularly exciting, but he’s trying to avoid having to sit with more of the old ladies who think he’s so adorable.  He had to leave to meet one of them for dinner, but he invited himself to sit with us tomorrow night.  The rest of us went to Jade Garden for dinner.

Look back in Grand Pacific II for the menu in Jade Garden.  It is always the same.  We ordered the appetizers and sushi family style, but each ordered our own combination of entrees, which seems to be the way they prefer to do it.  They build little dividers out of sliced cucumbers standing on end like a fence between each item on the plate.  For once, everything was very good and we got an adequate quantity.

We heard all about Harry’s touring through Australia during his vacation.  He had gone of vacation right after we boarded and returned in Singapore.  He did all of the usual things one does in Australia, plus bungee jumping and climbing to the top of Ayers Rock.  He was in Sydney for Mardi Gras and had given us the impression he had a lot of fun.  Indeed he did, but the details were not quite as racy as we expected.  He is more respectable than we thought.

The waiters were pacing around wondering if we would ever finish our meal.  At that point we realized that it was 11:00pm.  The restaurant closes at 10:00pm, so we had well overstayed our welcome.  Of course, they would never say anything, but with another hour forward on the clock we’re sure they were happy to see us go.  All of the Jade Garden and Prego waiters work in the Lido for breakfast and lunch.

Tonight’s entertainment is a “showcase of our tremendously talented dancers in, ‘That’s Dancing!’”  This show features the dance instructor couple and the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers.  Jeff said that is was fantastic.  For him to say something complimentary about anything it must have been great.  We’ll have to wait for the video because we weren’t out of the restaurant until well after the show was over.

Wednesday, April 17 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

The second version of April 17th is vastly improved over recent days.  The weather is absolutely perfect; not a cloud in the sky and about 70 degrees.  People are outside again for the first time in several weeks.  Unfortunately, the pools cannot be filled due to the swells, but other than that things are as good as they can be.

Someone we sent a photo to called us at 9:30am to thank us.  We’re not going to do nice things anymore.  We’ve learned our lesson.  Still, we didn’t wallow out of the room until noon.  For the first time in a week, we actually talked to our stewardess.  She is counting the last 9 days because she claims this is her last contract.  Her husband isn’t quite so sure, but she has spoken!  She said that people are starting to become annoyed with other guests, changing tables, and holing up in their cabin.  No wonder people get bedraggled during the last couple of weeks.  Aren’t we lucky that we don’t interact with anyone?

Lunch today is a Hawaiian BBQ Buffet around the Neptune Pool.  They didn’t have any special décor to speak of, but the food was a good effort.  Essentially, it is the same variety they always have except everything has a sweet and sour glaze, pineapple, or mango in it.  Some items worked, there were a few things that were very good, but others were far better in their original form.  The crab cakes, for example, were inedible and a weird yellow color.  Otherwise, there was a fairly good selection.

We sat outside to eat and listen to the band by the empty pool.  Dr. John was up dancing directly in front of them and we were just waiting for him to fall into the net over the pool.  He never did, but we pictured him wallowing there like a beached whale.  The final song was Y.M.C.A. and all of the Deck Stewards got up and participated along with an equal number of guests.

The rest of the afternoon was spent organizing some clothing and other mundane tasks.  We received a letter explaining that due to the “confusion” over the unusable spending credits that we can use $500 toward another cruise “just this once.”  We have already managed to use ours, so we don’t care anymore, but the tone of the letter was rather harsh.  We’re sure they will hear from many people in short order.  Lara certainly will have her work cut out for her over the next few days.

We stopped by the Dining Room to inform Augusto that we might have a guest tonight.  On the way, we made a vague effort to look around for Barry to see if he is joining us, but we didn’t find him.  Since we don’t care one way or the other, we might just wait and see if he shows up.

Tonight’s dress code is Formal.  If you can find something edible on tonight’s menu, please let us know.  Thank God they have those “always available” selections!


Iced Malossol Caviar with Traditional Condiments
Green Asparagus en Fete
Herb Wrapped Beef Carpaccio with Mustard, Mixed Greens, and Shaved Parmesan
Fresh Assorted Fruit Cup with Peach Yogurt Topping

From the Soup Kettle
Cream of Fresh Pumpkin with Orange Mousse
Beef Broth with Spinach Strudel
Chilled Hazelnut and Fresh Berry Soup

Spring Lettuce with Belgian Endive, Red Oak Leaf, and Marinated Green Beans
Chopped Garden Greens with Cauliflower, Broccoli, Tomatoes and Cucumbers

Pasta Special
Mezze Penne Rigate with Broccoli Pesto, Sliced Mushrooms, and Tomato Concassé

Salad Entrée
Tower of Mixed Island Greens Surrounded by Spicy Shrimp

Main Fares
Broiled Australian Lobster Tail
Grilled Venison Steak
Roasted Veal Chop
Oven Baked Quail

Vegetarian Selection
Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Mushrooms

Chocolate Soufflé with Kahlua Sauce
Hazelnut Ice Parfait with Sour Cherries
Sugar-Free Mango Chocolate Tart
Sugar-Free Sour Cream Terrine with Strawberry Sauce
Petit Fours and Chocolate Truffles
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Freshly Frozen, Non-Fat Vanilla Yogurt

Food review:  The pumpkin soup was outstanding.  The lobster was very good and the “always available” filet steak was outstanding.  Read below regarding the dessert story, which is an item not on the menu.

Barry (“Liberace”) joined us for dinner.  We arrived about two minutes before he did and nobody believed anyone else would show up.  But he did, so there!  We are aware that he has been trying to find an excuse to meet us all week, but it took Harry to get the ball rolling.  Mostly he’s just tired of entertaining the old ladies and wanted to have a reasonable conversation without pretending he has a girlfriend or whatever.  Luckily he didn’t ask if we saw his show, but even if he had we could have honestly said that his performance musically was outstanding.  It’s the banter and facial expressions that don’t work.  He looks fine up close, so we’re not sure what the deal is when he in on stage.

The three of us made up our own combinations out of two main courses, the filet and the lobster.  Barry had Surf and Turf, Dave had steak, Bill had lobster.  We all thought it was amusing, but you probably had to be there to think so.  Barry almost had the venison, but when he asked Jerry if it was any good, he didn’t buy it when he said it was.

Jerry was busy most of the evening, but when dessert time came around he got a look on his face that looked like a little kid.  Then, he brought us strawberries over vanilla ice cream that he had made himself according to the way Dave described it the other night.  He had asked what our favorite dessert is and that’s what we came up with.  He was so thrilled to make it for us and even more excited because it was exactly right.  He didn’t believe us at first, but it really was exactly the way we have it at home.  We were happy because he was so happy.  Again, you had to be there, but he was really charming.  That’s saying a lot for Jerry who isn’t usually Mr. Spontaneous.

Tonight’s entertainment is the lavish production show, “Million Dollar Musicals.”  We sat in the dead center with Barry to see the show for once from the proper angle.  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, this show is fabulous.  They don’t get any better than this and with this cast, which is near perfection, it really is outstanding.  It got, and deserved, a standing ovation, even though most of the audience has probably seen it ten times minimum.

It’s smooth sailing tonight, so we’re back to normal after a week of slightly dicey weather.  It is expected to stay this way for at least the next couple of days.


Thursday, April 18 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

When we woke up today, we really thought it was about 11:00am.  Wrong, it was 1:15pm!  Guess we were tired.  It’s cloudy with some rain showers today, but the temperature has climbed to about 75.  We received a nice note from Barry thanking us for a pleasant evening.

Too late for a conventional lunch, we ventured up to the Trident Grill, but found a rather long line there.  So, after chatting briefly with Barry, we went down to the Bistro for a snack to tide us over until the line dissipates.  Daniel claimed he had never seen us in the Bistro, which isn’t precisely true. At first, he made fun of us because we had just gotten out of bed, but later admitted he didn’t wake up until 1:30pm.  We just had some small desserts and sat for a while talking to Antonio and Daniel before going back up to the grill for our real food.

By this time, there was no line, so we quickly received our tuna melt and tuna wrap.  It was starting to get darker outside and it eventually started to rain.  Artie came by, shocked to see us again.  He said he honestly thought we had disembarked in Yokohama because he never sees us.  He declared us to be “low maintenance” guests.  He reminded us about the Deck 10 Block Party tonight and explained that we have to meet in the Palm Court first because the food people thought it would get too crowded if we arrived on our own.  He said that everyone on Deck 10 had let him know they didn’t like that arrangement, but there’s not much he can do about it.

Jeff came by to tell us to meet on Deck 7 forward for the group photo at 4:45pm.  Artie had said to meet at the bow of the ship, but some people apparently don’t know where that is, so Jeff is running around telling everyone.  Let’s face it, if someone can’t find the bow of the ship, they deserve to miss the photo.  FYI, it is part of the Promenade Deck and there is no mystery about how to get to it. 

We killed time in the afternoon watching TV and waiting until passport distribution time at 4:30pm. 

We arrived at the bow of the ship a bit early, but found many others milling about and fighting for a location on the prow of the ship.  We just stood there until someone told us where to stand.  One totally bitchy woman, who is always that way, kept yelling out, “Let’s get on with this!”, “What the hell is taking so long?”, etc., Literally every 30 seconds.  First of all, the entire process from arrival to the finish, was a total of fifteen minutes.  That means they got 180 people arranged, a video taken, and several photos all within that time.  And people were complaining!  The best part of the whole thing was getting to walk around on the bow.  This area is visible to us, but is only for use by the crew.  There is a small round pool for them here and access to the prow of the ship.  We climbed up there just to see the view, but it wasn’t particularly exciting.

Next step was to pick up our passports in the lobby, which took about two seconds.  After that we chatted briefly with Harry who is lamenting the hassles with U.S. Immigration in all of the upcoming ports. 

Tonight’s dress code is Informal.  We arrived in the elevator lobby on our floor just as the guests were coming down from Palm Court for the Block Party, so we just joined in.  Each officer’s cabin was decorated with a different country’s theme, complete with costumes, appropriate drinks and food.  We stopped first in Josef Matt’s cabin where we found Felix dressed up in lederhosen, which we know he hates.  He was trying to be a good sport.  They had mini submarine sandwiches and some sort of wine/liqueur in shot glasses.  Josef forced everyone to drink it who was even vaguely willing.  The officer’s rooms are smaller than standard guest cabins, but they have a separate room for a bedroom.  We were crammed into the living room of each cabin while the food was served from the door to the bedroom.  With two servers, plus the officer in each room, it got very crowded very quickly.

So, we squeezed against the traffic out into the hallway where Artie told us to buck the system and go through the bridge rather than stopping at the Captain’s Quarters.  No problem there because there was quite a bit of screaming and yelling “SKOL,” so we knew we shouldn’t go in there!

No one is ever allowed on the bridge at night, so it is a very rare treat to see it after dark.  Why they think it’s OK for the World Cruisers to walk unattended through the bridge when tours have been cancelled for security reasons is beyond us, but we enjoyed it.  It’s actually a bit creepy because it is pitch black with only the glow from the instruments as light. 

Next stop was an Italian theme where they had four kinds of pizza, along with beer and wine.  The pizza was pretty good.  Too bad it isn’t this good at the grill all of the time.  The officer there was also very jovial.  We were really trying to make it to the Mexican room, but it was jammed, so we skipped ahead to the Japanese room where Captain Oda was holding court along with Keiko and some of the Filipinos masquerading as Japanese people.  They were all wearing sort of martial arts outfits and serving sushi, sake, Japanese beer, and some other liquor that escapes us.  We had the sake and shared a plate of sushi.

Artie was in the hallway all this time trying to do his best to keep things moving, which for the most part they did.  Unfortunately, with the small rooms and crowded conditions it was very warm and we were fading fast.  Remember, we still have dinner to do.

Back through the bridge to check out the activity in the Captain’s Quarters.  Dave stepped into the room far enough to see that we did not want to go in there.  Elizabeth, one of the photographers, tried to capture him as the next victim.  The deal was that you had to put on some big Viking horns, belt a shot of aquavit and yell “SKOL!”  For doing that, you’d get a picture with the Captain in the same sort of get up.

We escaped back to the Mexican room where they had deep fried peppers stuffed with cheese and a bartender making Margueritas.  The officer in this room is the Vice Captain who is usually rather dour, but he was fun and friendly tonight.  Elizabeth tracked us down to try to entice us back to the Captain’s room for the photo, but we declined.

We were so sweaty by the time the party ended that we had to stop by the room to change our shirt before going to dinner.  Not that we are the slightest bit interested in eating anything else at this point, but we wouldn’t want to miss a meal would we?


Smoked Prawns on Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables and Herb-Tomato Vinaigrette
Baked Snails in Brioche Gratinated with Sauce Hollandaise, Served with Pernod Sauce
Buffalo Mozzarella on a Cous Cous Tower with Lemon and Parsley
Tropical Fruit Cocktail Topped with Yogurt Kahlua Topping

From the Soup Kettle
Cream of Leek with Red Skin Potatoes
Chicken Consommé with Asparagus Strudel
Chilled Apple Mint Soup

Heart of Iceberg Lettuce with Marinated Mushrooms and Basil
Assorted Garden Lettuce with Red Onion Rings, Leeks, and Sliced Potatoes

Pasta Special
Ziti Tagliati ai Funghi with Tomato Sauce, Garlic, Parsley, and Forest Mushrooms

Salad Entrée
Crisp Sea Bream Fillet and Potato-Cucumber Salad

Main Fares
Broiled Salmon Fillet
Roasted Turkey Breast
Seared Sea Scallops
Grilled Black Angus Filet Steak “Diane”

Vegetarian Selection
Fried Tofu with Root Vegetables and Sweet and Sour Sauce

Chocolate Soufflé Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Almond Cream Puffs with Mocha Sauce
Vanilla Ice Parfait with Rhubarb Compote
Sugar-Free Vanilla Pudding
Sugar-Free Apple Custard Pie
Homemade Cookies
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Non-Fat Strawberry Yogurt

Food review:  We ordered the fruit without the weird topping that has appeared recently.  The soup was sort of like chopped apples in apple juice, so it was more like fruit than soup.  By the time the entrée came around, we weren’t the slightest bit interested in eating, but they were satisfactory.

We told Jerry again how much we liked the strawberries he made last night.  He was so overjoyed that he turned beet red.  Finally, he seems to believe us.  Ger looked tired and is annoyed because he has lunch off tomorrow, but has in-port manning, which means he can’t leave the ship.  They are supposed to give in-port manning to crew members who are working anyway, so he decided to complain and see what happens.  As far as we can tell, he was able to work something out.  Everyone is hysterical because this is the first U.S. port for quite a while and they are expecting a health inspection in any one of the next five ports.  Of course, they would prefer to get it finished tomorrow, but they have no way of knowing for sure.  So, they have to clean even more thoroughly than usual until at some point the inspector shows up.

Tonight’s entertainment is another presentation by singer Jacqui Scott.  Barry also has a show at 8:00pm in the Starlite Club.  We didn’t attend either show.


Friday, April 19 – Honolulu, Hawaii – 9 AM-11 PM

“Aloha” and welcome to Oahu, Hawaii’s great “gathering place.”  Majestic Diamond Head Crater lies on the horizon beyond Crystal Symphony.  Nearby, elegant resorts and towering high-rises line the gentle curve of Waikiki.

Honolulu and Oahu are the center of island life and a land of sandy beaches, endearing smiles and exotic tropical flowers.  Asian- and American-influenced cultures blend in a lifestyle where the tropical tempos of Polynesia prevail and the aloha spirit still pervades every part of life. The choices are many.  Relive the historic events of Pearl Harbor, explore tropical rainforests or witness the creation of island culinary magic.

We’re up at the crack of dawn as ordered by U.S. Immigration, but there is a snafu.  The Coast Guard would not allow the ship to enter the harbor until it has been thoroughly searched.  So, here we sit, anchored off shore, at 8:30am.  That’s half an hour later than our scheduled time to show up for inspection with passport in hand.  The Coast Guard boarded the ship at 6:00am, unannounced.  The Captain is not amused.

We found out later that another ship had arrived last week with a bomb threat against it, so that has prompted the additional security.  When Crystal Harmony called here a few months ago, the bomb sniffing dog smelled something, but nothing was ever found.  So, we are now deemed as security risks.

No matter, we are told that an announcement will be made when procedures actually begin and are told to continue with breakfast or whatever else we are doing.  Too bad it is too late to continue sleeping, but oh well.

Jerry practically passed out when we showed up in the Lido for breakfast.  Ger was equally surprised, but he isn’t any more awake than we are at this point.  He was talking to us for too long to suit the other waiters, so one of them came out and told him he had a phone call.  He said later that he went inside and told them that, “They aren’t that stupid.  They know you just didn’t want me talking.”

By this time, the ship had docked directly adjacent to the historic Aloha Tower.  The area around the tower was redeveloped several years ago into a lovely shopping and restaurant mall.  

Still, no announcements regarding immigration had been made.  Eventually, they said that anyone who had completed the process could proceed ashore, but still no hint that it was actually taking place.  Time, once again, to just show up and see what’s happening.

Needless to say, the process is in full swing, unannounced.  Keiko took the card we had received and informed us to forget about the Customs Declaration because the agents have decided they don’t want to do that here.  She then directed us past a huge line directly to two agents standing in the aisle.  The entire process consisted of the agent looking at our passport, asking where we were born, and saying, “Welcome back.”  No stamps, no nothing.  Then we received a card giving us permission to go ashore.

OK, fine, that’s done.  So we head down to the gangway.  No one ever asks for that permission slip, ever.  Not once, all day.  And we came and went twice.  The shuttle stop is directly in front of the exit door to take us to the Ala Moana Shopping Center and to the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.  We stayed on until the hotel stop, which is directly across from Waikiki Beach.

We had been informed that the street fronting the hotels along the beach has recently been redeveloped, but we didn’t expect it to be quite as nice as it is.  It’s beautiful.  Waikiki has never really been what we would consider beautiful, but they have done a wonderful job of landscaping the beachfront with a wide, meandering promenade, fountains, sculptures, tropical plants and tiki torches.  The entire avenue seems to have had a facelift with the front of hotels that were once just concrete towers having had upscale shops inserted at the street level.  The whole atmosphere has a tropical, Hawaiian feeling to it that has been lacking for years.

First, we strolled along Waikiki Beach toward Diamond Head.  There is a convenient pier sort of thing that juts out in the center of the beach that affords great views to the mountain, the high rise hotels, and the beach.  Even the water looks more appealing.  Apparently, they brought in new sand to cover the coral that had been a bit of a problem here.

At the end of the beach, we crossed to the shady side of the street to walk back toward our starting point.  Several of the hotels along the waterfront are still being remodeled.  We must have counted at least 50 ABC stores.  There is one on literally every single street corner.  All four corners of the Hyatt Regency have one.  A person can’t walk a block, or what?

We had told Ger we would buy him a tacky trinket, so we went into an ABC store that had t-shirts four for $20.  Nothing exciting.  Then we went into another store that had them six for $20.  And for good reason.  Waikiki was spelled “Wakiki” on all of them.  When we were savvy enough to discover that, the saleswoman pointed us to another area where the “real” merchandise is sold.  Still, we are in need of the tacky trinket, but no luck here.

Back at the Hyatt, we wandered into a store selling every tacky souvenir one can imagine.  The tackiest thing we could find was a license plate saying, “I got lei’d,” so we let that be our solution.  We also bought a magnet for Billy’s collection.

From here, we walked on to the International Marketplace, but it has deteriorated into a shoddy collection of gold by the inch and other cheap stores.  The entire upper level is vacant.

We crossed the street to the shopping arcade in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and walked through it for several blocks to the end.  The Royal Hawaiian is where the World Cruise luncheon is being held, but we chose to skip it.  From what we heard later, we are sure glad we did!  It was held in the jam packed hotel dining room and was served buffet style.  Someone told us that they had to get up three times to complete the meal.  People were not amused.  No one we enjoy attended, so it would have been another chance to sit at a table full of people we don’t know and don’t care to know.  Thank God we didn’t give in and go!

Nothing in the shopping arcade thrilled us enough for a purchase, but there were a couple of interesting stores selling Hawaiian made items.  We have been looking for an inexpensive watch for Jerry since Augusto claimed the one we were going to let him keep.  So, we looked in a phone book for a Fossil store.  There is one in Ala Moana Center, so we thought maybe we would stop there later.

No need for that.  Directly across the street, we wandered into a huge new shopping mall called DFS Galleria, the same as the one in Hong Kong we just visited.  They have done a wonderful job of providing a Hawaiian ambiance.  Music fills there air and life size figures of people leaving on a cruise are all around.  Stalls look like Model T Fords and such.  There is a Duty Free store that is only available to people with an airline ticket to an international destination.  So, we can’t go there, but it looks nice.  The façade looks like an old passenger liner and the escalator is disguised as the gangway.

We needed the map they gave us at the entrance to figure out, after three tries, how to find the second floor.  There, we found a Fossil watch for Jerry and a watch with a timer for Bill to use when doing laundry on board.  Better  late than never.  We sure wouldn’t want to be in this place in a fire because they have certainly hidden the exit!  You have to backtrack the entire length of a very convoluted pathway to get back out again.

By this time, about 1:30pm, we were both starting to crash.  It is very hot, at least 90, and we really only got a couple of hours of sleep.  So, we decided to head back to the shuttle stop and back to the ship.  When we arrived at the shuttle, the rep there said we were the only people she has seen in 1-1/2 hours.  At least she did ask to see our ship ID, which is a first.  A few crew members rode back with us.

The ride back to the ship only took about fifteen minutes.  The entire roadway seems to have been redesigned to make the flow of traffic better.  That, plus new landscaping, has really improved this part of town.

The guard at the door asked us why everyone is carrying immigration cards.  He asked, “Aren’t you Americans?”  Yes.  “They why did they give you immigration cards?”  God only knows.  We told him we’re not sure that they realize this is a part of the U.S. since they also felt it necessary to inform us that U.S. dollars are accepted here.  He thought that was a hoot.  We went directly back on board, mostly to drop off the bags of stuff we were carrying.  We ran into Harry rushing out to have lunch and purchase some essentials.  He won’t have time to shop in San Francisco or Los Angeles because he will be occupied with even more ridiculous procedures with no apparent point.

Unlike our lazy approach most days, we did not crash and stay on board.  Rather, we went right back out again to explore the Aloha Tower Marketplace and look for someplace to have lunch.  We really expected half of the stores to be out of business, but things seemed to be going fine here.  Most of the same stores that were here last time are still here.  Only one restaurant was closed and being remodeled into something else. 

We had lunch at Don Ho’s Hawaiian Grill with a view to the harbor.  The hostess told us that a big tour group had just arrived and to please be patient.  We didn’t care.  Service didn’t suffer and our food arrived a split second after we ordered.  The kalua pork sandwich and the guava chicken sandwich were outstanding.  The price was very fair, as well.

After lunch, we browsed the shops, but didn’t buy anything.  Usually, lunch revives us, but not this time.  We’re just too hot and tired to be bothered anymore.  Besides, we’ve seen and done everything there is to do here, although we do like it.  So, we went back on board to clean up and rest.  A note from Adair was waiting on our mail clip, delivered by Donna from Caesar’s Casino who said she was “very anxious” to be sure we received it.  Rest assured, we did.

Of course, we promptly crashed and slept for about an hour before it was again time to prepare for a meal.  Neither of us is really in the mood at this point, but we have to stay awake for the sailing at 11:00pm anyway, so we might as well eat in the meantime, right?  We decided to save our gifts for Jerry and Ger for another night rather than bother with them when we aren’t in the mood.

Tonight’s dress code is Casual.  Casual dining is available at the Trident Grill again tonight, but we chose the Dining Room.


Seafood Salad with Fruit and Crisp Greens, Served with Exotic Dressing
Salad of Roasted Chicken Breast, Avocado, and Black Olives
Symphony Grits with Barbecued Shrimp
Tropical Fruit Cup with Vanilla Syrup

From the Soup Kettle
Chicken Consommé with Vegetable Balls and Truffles
Maui Ginger Red Onion Soup
Chilled Red Pepper Soup with Tortilla Chips

Heart of Boston Lettuce With Chopped Tomatoes, Cucumber, Onions and Sprouts
Commander’s Salad

Pasta Special
Farmer’s Cheese Ravioli

Salad Entrée
Tempura Fried Prawns

Main Fares
Grilled Fresh Mahi Mahi Fillet
Sautéed Crab Cakes
Golden Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu
Grilled Black Angus Sirloin

Vegetarian Selection
Chilled Red Pepper Soup with Tortilla Chips

Hawaiian Style Pumpkin Haupia Pie with Cookie Crust and Vanilla Ice Cream
Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Raspberry Sauce
Lemon Mousse with Strawberry Sauce
Sugar-Free Grape Strudel
Sugar-Free Lime Tart with Ginger Cream
Tropical Fruit in Season
Homemade Cookies
Non-Fat Frozen Peach Yogurt

Food review:  The salads were off a bit, tasting more of hard boiled eggs than anything else.  The fish entrée was OK except for the salsa topping tasted too much of raw onions.  The chicken was outstanding and did not have mushrooms, as is proper for this dish.  The dessert was terrible, but was edible with the removal of a gelatinous, waxy substance spread on top.

There is almost no one in the Dining Room tonight, so it is very quiet.  Several of the waiters didn’t have any guests at all.  Ger eventually did get to go out for a few hours this afternoon and he took the time to swim at Waikiki Beach.  Good for him.  He said that he swam farther out than he realized and really had to work to get back to shore.  It wasn’t a big deal, but by the time the meal was over we had embellished the story to the point where it had evolved into a life and death struggle.

After dinner we wandered up to Sun Deck to wait for the sailing.  No one was out there except Miss Travel Writer who has been banished to eating alone after the spectacle she made of herself last night.  She had a few too many shots at the Block Party and proceeded to sing, in the middle of the Dining Room, a song from the Little Mermaid from start to finish.  We’re sure the Champagne Strings did not have that in mind when they asked what song she wanted to hear.  Guests were either enthralled or appalled.  You can imagine which take we had on it.  She was actually quite good, BUT the middle of a full dining room is not the place to do that.

While we’re on the subject, let’s catch up on some tidbits about this woman we have garnered over the last few days.  First off all, she is not, as it turns out, a travel writer (but we’ll continue to call her that for clarity).  She is doing the same thing we are; keeping a diary for her friends back home.  We have heard her tell people she is a writer, but that is a fantasy.  This is her first and, according to her statement last night, last World Cruise.  Actually, this is her first Crystal Cruise period.  To hear her talk, you’d think someone kidnapped her and put her aboard the ship.  She certainly didn't seem to have any clue where she was going, the enormous number of sea days (which is a Crystal signature), or how long the the cruise is.

Anyway, back to the subject of the sail away.  Miss Travel Writer was there, sitting in a lounge chair, but she didn’t blurt out anything untoward for once.  A woman from Canada, either Mabel Louise or Louise Mabel depending upon whether it is before or after 9/11, stood next to us.  We knew to avoid starting a conversation with her from past experience, but there was no way to avoid it when she asked a direct question.  That was, “Aren’t we supposed to sail at 11:00pm?”  It was 11:15pm at this point.

She then launched into a tirade about the immigration procedures and how poorly there were handled, how no one knew the process for clearing customs to ship things to Canada, and how she hates being called an alien.  All of this was prefaced by, “I never like to complain, but…”  Everything she said was true and we agree that a lot of what went on today was pointless and served no purpose we could grasp.  For example, the non-citizens had to stand in a huge line to be grilled by ONE officer, while the rest of us breezed through two of them doing absolutely nothing.  All the while several others stood around drinking coffee.  Typical, huh?

Then, when people went to customs to get clearance for shipping things home from Hawaii (because customs has refused to allow it from San Francisco) no one knew what to do.  My solution would have been to just take things ashore and go somewhere else to ship them, but most people aren’t brave enough to try that approach.  By the way, the woman who said she doesn’t like to complain was heard not five minutes later relating the exact same story to Miss Travel Writer!

We did sail, about fifteen minutes late.  We were waiting for the local entertainment to disembark.  The sail away from Honolulu at night is spectacular.  The weather is perfect;  not too warm and not much wind.  The water is as smooth as glass.  We sailed a course directly across the skyline of Waikiki and on past Diamond Head.  Who could ask for more?


Saturday, April 20 – Lahaina, Hawaii – 7 AM-3:30 PM

In addition to possessing some of the world’s most marvelous beaches, this second-largest island of the Hawaiian archipelago boasts one of the great natural wonders of the planet:  Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano.

Nicknamed the Valley Isle, the island of Maui boasts a string of jungle valleys and is flanked on two sides by volcanoes, Puu Kukui to the west and the great Haleakala to the east.  According to legend, the Hawaiian demigod, Maui, pulled up both ends of the island form the sea bottom with his fishhook to create this Pacific paradise.  Resting between these two towering craters lies central Maui, named after the island’s legendary creator.

Cradled on its western shore at the foot of Puu Kukui is picturesque Lahaina, now designated a national historic landmark.  In days gone by, it was one of the principal whaling centers of the Pacific.  Now it brims with reminders of its legendary seafaring past.

Beyond Lahaina lie tranquil valleys of serene majesty, the golden sands of Kaanapali Beach and Haleakala’s immense crater.

Crystal Symphony anchored off of Lahaina early this morning.  Since we really have no plans for today, we saw no reason to get up early.  When we did get up, at 11:00am, we just got dressed, ate a banana, and went directly to shore by tender.  The Norwegian Wind is also here today, so the town is very busy.  There is also a surfing competition and a boat race.  The latter is the reason we can’t get together with Dave's sister, Carolynn, today.  It is quite hot and humid today.

Renato and Marco were in the tender with us on the way over.  They are finally free now that all of the tours are accounted for, so they were rushing to have lunch ashore.  We have no urgency to do anything except walk and browse the shops.  The tender lands directly in the center of town, at the Pioneer Inn, so everything is close by.

We started off along Front Street toward the shops.  There is nothing in the way of souvenirs that we need, so we are mostly interested in a couple of galleries we like.  We walked to almost the end of town to where the restaurant juts out over the water, then started back on the inland side of the street.

At the center of town, we stopped in a couple of galleries, but didn’t find anything interesting.  Then we found the gallery we really like that has lots of funky stuff.  There we bought a small kissy fish with a smug look on its face to go with the larger one we already have.  We also bought a sort of freeform glass blob.

We thought we were done, so we continued walking back to the Pioneer Inn.  As we rounded the corner, we saw a big craft festival going on under the old banyan tree, so we strolled through to see if there is anything we just can’t live without.  Of course, there was, so we bought some ceramic items from a woman who makes them with impressions from real leaves and woven mats.  She said this festival is for the 178th (or something like that) birthday of the banyan tree, but that there is a similar craft fair here everyone other week.  The tree forms a natural enclosure for the vendors and it is very pleasant to stroll around.

The town didn’t seem any more crowded than usual even with the huge Norwegian Wind in port.  They are using much larger tenders than we have, so the line to return to that ship is very long.  Both lines had strict security measures in place including searching every bag and package, plus everyone being checked with a handheld metal detector.  Anyone who did not have a picture ID with them was reported to the ship’s security officer to be identified.

When we arrived back at the side of the ship, the swells were very large.  A huge woman who needs a motorized wheelchair to get around the ship was unable to make it out of the tender.  We assume they eventually hoisted her aboard somehow, but several other guests commented that they shouldn’t have allowed her onto the tender in the first place.  They do say that you have to be at least able to walk on your own to go ashore in the tenders, but they never enforce the rule.

Since we hadn’t eaten yet, we went up to get some grilled ham and cheese and pizza while waiting for the Rum Punch Sail Away Party on deck at 3:30pm.  In the meantime, we took some photos of Lahaina and the idle sugarcane fields from the vantage point of the ship.  We could also see the boat races around the point.

When the ship first sailed, it was very calm and the Seahorse Pool area was packed with revelers.  Free run punch was handed out to everyone.  The Deck Stewards lead a group of guests around in a sort of conga line for Y.M.C.A.  After this, the ship turned into the channel between Maui and Lanai and all hell broke loose as the wind picked up.  Cushions landed in the pool, towels flew everywhere, and the palm fronds they had tied to the poles started whipping around.  The best part was watching the pool water blow out of the confines of the pool and all over the people in the lounges.

The band finally gave up after about half an hour.  All of the servers valiantly tried to collect the flying plastic glasses and cushions.  Susanne jumped into the pool area with her shoes on to retrieve two of them.  All the while, Josef’s son and the Captain’s daughter were running around trying to help. 

Covered with salt spray, we gave up when they decided it was time to drain the pool before it sloshes out and makes it inside again.  By the way, the clocks moved forward an hour the minute we sailed, so 3:30pm instantly became 4:30pm.

Tonight’s dress code is Informal.  We ran into Elizabeth collecting photos and she said she can take our picture on the bow of the ship tomorrow at 5:00pm, or any other time we want to.  This came up because we were looking at the photos taken the other day during the group photo.


Fresh Marinated Artichokes with Chilled Crab Meat Salad
Petit Beef Tartar with Silver Onions, Gherkins, and Pumpernickel Bread
Homemade Vegetable Spring Roll with Coriander Dipping Sauce
Iced Supreme of Mango and Papaya, Flavored with Midori

From the Soup Kettle
Tomato Bisque with London Dry Gin
Beef Broth wit Herb Quenelles
Chilled Lemon Cream with Non-Fat Yogurt

Spring Lettuce with Onion Rings, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Roasted Peppers, and Baby Eggplant
Heart of Iceberg Lettuce with Sliced Red Skin Potatoes and White Bean Salad

Pasta Special
Linguine “Prince of Naples”

Salad Entrée
Grilled Sirloin Steak Salad

Main Fares
Pan Fried Veal Scaloppini
Fresh Broiled Halibut Fillet
Roasted Herb Marinated Lamb Rack
Braised Ox Tail in Burgundy Red Wine Sauce

Vegetarian Selection
Garden Vegetables and Mushrooms, Sautéed in Olive Oil and Garlic

Sacher Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream
Macaroon Tart with Fresh Fruit and Mango Sauce
Crunchy Vanilla Mousse with Strawberry Sauce
Sugar-Free Chocolate Custard
Sugar-Free Cherry Cream Cheese Strudel
Homemade Cookies
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Freshly Frozen Lychee Nut Sherbet

Food review:  The spring roll was good, but not exciting.  The lemon soup itself was rather boring, but what really made it awful were two slices of raw lemon in it.  They usually float a piece of peeled orange in orange soup, for example, but putting plain lemon in was way too overpowering.  The halibut was satisfactory, but not as good as usual.  Dessert was very good.

Jerry leaked to us that there is a special event for World Cruisers tomorrow night that takes the place of dinner.  OK, fine, but just when did they plan to tell us about it?  Up until now, 9:00pm, we have heard nothing about it.  He stopped talking when Augusto came over.  Later, Augusto accidentally told us that we are having dinner in the Starlite Club.  Again, we have heard nothing about this officially.

Now we’re really annoyed.  We know we are expected to go because tables are assigned and we have one, with people we don’t know, again.  Are we tired of this forced friendliness, or what?  By now, we have met everyone we are interested in meeting and some we wish we hadn’t.  So, here we go again, whether we like it or not.

The main point here is that they have not told anyone about it and told the waiters it is top secret.  Fine, but we’re talking tomorrow night, not a week from now.  If Jerry hadn’t mentioned it, we would never have guessed the extent of the event.

Here is the invitation we received when we returned to the room, verbatim:

The pleasure of your company
is requested
at the inaugural gathering of

The Gershwin Society Club

On Sunday evening,
April 21, 2002,
commencing at 7:00pm

A special evening of S’wonderful food
and Fascinating Ryhthms
awaits you.

Please use the entrance to the
Starlite Club
opposite Jade Garden.

Suggested dress:
Formal, Black & White “Elegance”

What’s wrong with this picture?  Check out the invitation carefully as though this is the only information you have.  Now, first of all, the Starlite Club is not a dining venue.  Would one assume this is dinner or a party?  Also, tomorrow night’s dress code is Informal, so are we to assume we are to dress formally, with no advance notice for the women to get ready, for just a party?  Notice also that it doesn’t say anything about being exclusively for World Cruise guests.  We know it is, but remember that we found out in advance.  So, wouldn’t you think that some people will ask their friends if they are going not realizing it is “exclusive?”

We could carry on at length about this (and we will!), but let’s just say it could have been handled better.  They are putting an enormous amount of work into it, which includes the waiters getting up at the crack of dawn to remove all of the chairs from the Starlite Club and redecorate as a supper club.  Recall that we had two hours forward on the clock today, plus another one tomorrow, AND there is an elaborate brunch in the Dining Room tomorrow that will require them to work basically non-stop from 5:30am until well after 11:00pm.

What are people with first seating dining going to think?  That they can’t go or miss dinner?  We overheard someone say that they think it is just a preview of the new Gershwin production show. They have no clue that it is an elaborate dinner with, by the way, a pre-selected menu.  We all know already how well they select menus, now don’t we?

The biggest annoyance is that someone has decided for us what we will do tomorrow night with absolutely no advance notice.  Unlike the luncheons where one may choose to attend or not, we are stuck with this.  We’re sure it will be very nice, but that’s not the point.  We do not want someone else deciding what we like, what we want to do, and especially with whom we will dine.  Frankly, we’re tired of making small talk with people we don’t know after almost 100 days of it.

This makes SEVEN formal nights in this cruise.  Don’t many women like to get their hair done or otherwise prepare for a formal night?  Too bad, so sad.  No notice means no time for a hair appointment.  We’d sure hate to be working in the salon tomorrow. 

Jerry said he would set our table for us just in case, but we will behave and attend the party just to see what happens.  They generally do a good job with these things, so we expect it will be something special.  However, if it is a repeat of the endless luncheons, you’ll be hearing another rant tomorrow night.

Tonight’s entertainment is “Australia’s leading Comedienne,” Geraldine Doyle.  She was amusing, but she isn’t really Australian, she’s Irish.  Very Irish.  She just lives in Australia now.  Anyway, she was entertaining, not hysterical, but good enough.  She’s a singer, too, which was also entertaining.  Audience participation capped the show, but it wasn’t mandatory, so it was OK.  We were surprised that many people left before the end.

We move the clocks another hour forward tonight.  By the time we returned to the room, it had become rather rough, although no worse than it has been so far.  Mostly it is just extremely windy which is making the ship rock from side to side.

Sunday, April 21 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

We can’t really tell you much about what happened early in the day because we missed most of it.  We didn’t get out of the room until 3:30pm.  It was so quiet that we just didn’t wake up.  It is extremely windy and very rough today, although the stabilizers are keeping the ship from rolling from side to side.

Our first stop was for ice cream as our lunch.  There was a Sunday brunch in the Dining Room today, which is always very good, but that was over hours ago.  We have an appointment with Elizabeth for a photo on the bow at 5:00pm, but it is way too windy for that. 

We weren’t quite sure whether to wait for her or not, but we didn’t want to stand her up.  Dave went to check if there might be a voicemail message, but she arrived in the meantime.  Rainer and Peter said that people are complaining about the formal affair tonight with such short notice.  Gee, what a surprise.  Rainer thanked us again for the shirts we gave him and said he found one that was perfect for Hawaii.  We didn’t give them to him specifically, but we did say he could keep any for himself that he wanted.  We were just donating them to the crew in general.

Elizabeth confirmed that it is way too windy on the bow, but we could try from the aft end of the ship.  We walked to that end and stood at the railing with the wake behind us.  She didn’t like the light, but thought as long as we are here anyway, why not?  We’ll find out tomorrow if any of them came out right.

Now it’s time to rush and get dressed for the World Cruise party tonight, The Gershwin Society Club.  Susanna delivered white rose boutonnieres for us and said, “These are for your admittance, so be sure to wear them.”  We’re not convinced that is true, but we would have worn them anyway.  Women received a gardenia wrist corsage.  The theme is black and white formal.

We took the aft elevators down because we were told to use the entrance to the Starlite Club near Jade Garden.  When we came out of the elevator, the line stretched all the way to the main entrance, so we could have saved the walking, but it was no big deal.  Everyone in line was talking about trying to come up with a formal black and white outfit at the last minute, but people seemed in a fairly pleasant mood.

Artie was at the door kissing all of the women, but he didn’t kiss us in spite of the scene we made.  Josef was there directing traffic and announcing guest’s names to the waiters so they could show them to their table.  Mostly, they stood there looking like deer caught in headlights, but it worked reasonably well under the circumstances.

You wouldn’t recognize the Starlite Club.  They had stuck giant piano keys around the dome over the stage.  All of the chairs had been removed, except for the built-in banquettes.  Tables and chairs from the Dining Room and Jade Garden filled every available space.  It’s amazing how many tables will fit when the bulky chairs are gone.

Each table had a floral centerpiece arranged in the silver wine buckets on silver stands from the Dining Room.  It’s always festive to have these elevated arrangements that also make conversation easier.  Huge posters related to George and Ira Gershwin were hung around the room and lighted.  The stage had been redecorated like a supper club, but we couldn’t really see the piano through all of the elevated flowers.

We had a table for 10 with Lisa Williams, the Crystal Society Supervisor, as our host.  This must have been the thirty and forty something table.  We knew everyone except a Mexican woman and her daughter (the mother was only 43).  She said she didn’t speak English very well, but she was fine.  We had a reasonably nice conversation with her despite the fact we have never met before.  Lisa was entertaining enough, but not dynamic.  We did find out that 165 people work in Crystal’s Los Angeles office.  We can’t imagine what all of them do, but at least we know.

Welcome to the Inaugural Dinner of

In looking back on our spectacular
Grand Pacific Circle World Cruise 2002
and the sights we’ve seen,
the cuisine we’ve had,
and the entertainment we’ve enjoyed,
these are memories we will treasure forever.

The Gershwins said it best when they wrote…
”The memory of all that – No, no! They can’t take that away from me.”


George and Ira’s Summertime Lobster and Artichoke Salad
with Beluga Caviar Cream Dressing

Rhapsody of Asparagus and Pea Soup
with Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

I’m Bidin’ My Time with Mint Flavored
Golden Pineapple Sherbet

Porgy’s Best Grilled Veal Medallion
on Truffle Mashed Potato (You Say Potahto),
Porcini Mushrooms, Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes
and Natural Jus with Fine Herbs


A Special Evening Cabaret starring


S’Wonderful Crème Brulee Truffle Bombe
Served with Champagne Orange Sauce

Crazy for Praline and Friandise

I Got Plenty o’ Wine

When we whined last night about having a set menu, we never imagined that we wouldn’t even have a choice of entrée.  But, whatever, we’re having veal whether we like it or not.  The Lobster Salad was pretty, but didn’t really taste like anything and the lobster was very tough.  There was a fifteen minute lull until the next course, the Asparagus and Pea Soup, which was outstanding.  Another lull preceded the sherbet course, also very good.  However, they wasted an entire half of a pineapple for each serving, which is ridiculous.  The veal was very good, if you like veal or approve of eating it, which Dave does not.  At this point there was entertainment.

Up until now, we have been serenaded by John Mentis, the pianist in the Avenue Saloon, who is extremely talented.  Too bad we couldn’t hear him, but he was there.  Here they inserted a fifteen minute concert by tomorrow’s featured pianist, Bernard Walz.  No problem with his performance, except it was too long and we’ve heard these songs at least 8,000 times already.  People were either enthralled or bored to tears.  We fell somewhere in between.

At this point they dragged up the producers of all of Crystal’s shows, two very “showbiz” women, Gretchen and somebody or other who puts the term “over the top” to shame.  The reason for all of this was to show off some of the ridiculously expensive costumes and, of course, tell us how much they cost.  First up was Steven in a bright purple and hot pink top hat and tails complete with a red glitter cane.  No, he wasn’t a pretty sight.  A couple of dancers came out in bright yellow and orange outfits that sort of looked like flapper-era styles.  The puffy jacket carried by the man had little pom poms sewn all over it.  Next came the lead female singer in an outrageously expensive beaded gown.  We were told that the fabric normally costs $500.00 a yard, but they got it for $250.00.  Then, they had it hand beaded with crystals.  She also had a matching beaded skullcap with dangling bead hair, which lead Dave to say to Lisa, “If it’s beaded hair, it must be Gretchen.”  That prompted her to roll her eyes.

The woman next to Dave, after listening to the recitation of prices and cost of fabric said, “I’m not sure I understand English properly, but are they trying to sell us this clothing?”  Point taken.  Oh, and they pointed out that they had $30,000 worth of custom made shoes!  Steven came by and showed them to us…orange alligator with suede uppers.  As he said, “One show and they’ll be ruined.”  No kidding.  And, we hate to tell them this, but only the people in the front row (a total of maybe ten people) can even see their shoes.  Somebody at Crystal really needs to put a stop to this unnecessary spending.  We heard several guests say, “At least I know where my money went.” 

We assume that this show will be the centerpiece of another theme evening like a Black and White Ball.  In other words, they’ll have costumes for the entire crew that also cost a bundle, so we’d better like it because we’re stuck with it for years ala “Excalibur.”

Next, after another lull, came dessert which bears no resemblance to the title except there was a truffle embedded in the center of it.  It tasted fine and was pretty to look at.  They had little violins made out of chocolate with notes printed on them stuck to the top of another truffle.  No one can fault the presentation here, that’s for sure.

Throughout the evening, guests could have any cocktail, cappuccino, espresso, etc., free of charge.  The conversation was reasonable and we did enjoy listening to the same people we spoke to months ago to see how they feel about the cruise at this point.  As far as we can ascertain, 90% of them would not do it again, although all did enjoy it.

On the way out, Josef and Augusto were asking, with apprehensive looks on their faces, if we enjoyed it.  We assured them we had because we know how hard the Dining Room staff worked to set it up.  And, it did look nice and was reasonably well organized.  Our only quibble is the short notice and lack of a choice.

Artie started a conversation with us, but, as usual, we were interrupted by some old lady in mid sentence.  We gave up and walked away.  In front of the showroom, one of the entertainers, maybe Bernard Walz, was standing and gesturing toward the case where a sign for the evening’s show is displayed.  He said, “We were just going to say, ‘It’s not just another pianist!’”  That’s just what it is, by the way.  What is this, the twentieth one so far?

But, we digress.  Tonight’s entertainment is Steve Lippia, “America’s foremost interpreter of classic songs.”  Basically, he sounds exactly like Frank Sinatra.  We were told at least three times that he is not an impersonator, that’s just how he sings.  Well, he has one up on Frank, he sings on key.  If he doesn’t want people to think he’s impersonating Sinatra, why does he sing “My Way” and “New York, New York”?  Anyway, technically he was fine and, as mentioned, he does sing on key.  However, the show was rather lackluster and somewhat boring.  As far as we can recall, every singer so far this cruise has sung “New York, New York” except the Irish Australian last night.

We received an 8”x10” print of the World Cruise group photo taken on the bow the other day.

The clocks go forward one hour again tonight, but this is the last time we have to do this before the end of the cruise.


Monday, April 22 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Nothing much happened today, but we did manage to get out of the room early enough to catch lunch in the Lido.  It’s Grand Buffet day in the lobby, so it’s nice and quiet up in the Lido.  We had a simple lunch of stir fried Sliced Beef and Celery over rice, which was the Asian selection for today.  The Asian selection is usually a safe bet.

The weather is pretty much the same as yesterday; about 70, partly cloudy, and very windy.  The ship’s course has changed a bit and we are now headed directly into the wind, so the rocking and rolling has calmed down to almost nothing.

Although we are not the slightest bit in the mood to do so, we have decided to pack up our purchases into boxes.  We had to stop by the shops and purchase a couple of items we want first though; two of the brightly painted chargers from Prego and a big Crystal ship.  It’s also the day to turn in the form to charge gratuities to our account.  On the way, Nikki stopped us to see how we liked the party last night.  She said the people at her table only complained about having to sit with strangers, but everything else was OK.  We feel about the same way.

We checked our account balance and we have just about broken even.  Of course, the deposits for upcoming bookings put us way in the red, but as for on-board spending, we came out great.  One hundred days and it looks like we didn’t spend a cent.

Back in the room, packing boxes commenced with little motivation except to get it out of the way.  We already have four big boxes, but need another one, so Dave had to run down to order one from the Front Desk where Billy looks like he is about to drop dead.  He must be a latecomer to the illness that’s been going around.  The box will be sent up to us, assembled if we so choose, later tonight.  Apparently we can’t be trusted to walk through the hallways with a folded box.

So, when all is said and done, we will have five large rectangular boxes, each so heavy we can’t lift them alone, and two big flat boxes with the lacquer screens from Vietnam.  Those are also so heavy we can barely lift them.  We made up a separate bag of stuff we bought in Hawaii or are pretending we bought in Hawaii because it looks plausible.  There are only a couple of wrapped items we have no recollection what they are, so it’ll be like Christmas when we get back.

Tonight’s dress code is Informal.  On the way to dinner we stopped in the Photo Shop to see if our special photos are finished.  They are, so we decided to see if they could crop it to fit in the Crystal Symphony frame.  Sherry tried, but couldn’t get it to work.  Elizabeth did it with no problem, but the machine ran out of paper.  That required her to set up a big tent made out of light-proof cloth.  Once we finally figured out what we want to purchase and how many copies, we left them to their machinery and went down to dinner.


Potato Louisiana Style – Stuffed with King Crab, Spinach and Gratinated with Sauce Hollandaise
Fresh Oysters Served on Ice with Champagne Vinaigrette or Horseradish Cocktail Sauce
Roasted Beet Napoleon with Sherry Walnut Vinaigrette
Chilled Fruit Cocktail Topped with Pineapple and Coconut

From the Soup Kettle
White Bean Soup Flavored with Truffle Oil, Topped with Scallop Slice
Chicken Consommé with Asparagus Strudel
Chilled Melon Soup with Kiwi

Mixed Garden Greens with Crisp Eggplant Chips and Radishes
Fresh Spinach Salad Tossed in French Herb Dressing with Garlic Croutons and Bacon Bits

Pasta Special
Tagliatelle Verde in a Light Garlic Cream and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Salad Entrée
Grilled Salmon Fillet on Marinated Vegetable Salad

Main Fares
Filet Steak “Mermaid”
Quenelles de Brochet – Fish Dumplings with Puff Pastry Fleurons
Fresh Hawaiian Opakapaka Fillet
Baked Chicken Breast Stuffed with Ricotta Cheese and Spinach

Sautéed Calf’s Liver

Chocolate Chip Brioche Pudding with Vanilla Sauce and Rocky Road Ice Cream
Almond Pear Tart with Poire Williams Cream
Strawberry Mousse with Marinated Strawberries
Sugar-Free Chocolate Vanilla Slice
Sugar-Free Rich Pear Custard
Homemade Cookies
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Freshly Frozen Vanilla Yogurt

Food review:  The coconut dumped on top of the fruit was a bad idea.  They use finely chopped coconut here and it is very dry.  It was sort of like having a spoonful of sand with the fruit.  The soup was very odd and had a slimy consistency that made it very unappealing.  The salad was satisfactory.  The fish was very flavorful, but was dry.  The chicken was OK, but that’s all.  Dessert was outstanding.

We were having a conversation with Jerry during which the bitchy woman at the next table yelled out, “Jerry honey, we’re ready over here.”  We’re not kidding, the conversation lasted maybe ten minutes at the most and where exactly are they rushing to anyway?  This is the same woman who delays the entire area with her special requests, needless to say.

We finally found a good time to distribute our Hawaiian souvenir bags to Ger and Jerry.  They both seemed to think they were fun, but we had to explain the meaning of the tacky “I got lei’d” license plate we got for Ger.  He had asked for something tacky and that’s as tacky as we could find that he could still fit in his luggage.

The table next to us had four of the “star” entertainers currently on board.  Apparently they didn’t know we could easily hear every word because they did nothing but complain about the guests being “on the late side of 100,” and, “about as hostile as it gets.”  Of course, they are right, but save it for the privacy of your cabin.  Don’t yell it out around the very people you are bashing.

Tonight’s entertainment is “Three-Time Winner of the Australian Instrumental Performer of the Year Award: The Sensational Bernard Walz.”  Yes, another pianist.  It doesn’t really matter at this point whether these people are good or not, there have simply been too many pianists.  Surely there must be some other talent out there dying for work on a cruise ship?  We skipped this one, too.

We received another World Cruise gift tonight with this card:  “All of us at Crystal Cruises would like to thank you for joining our 2002 World Cruise in its entirety.  Like others who are beckoned by the sea, you have sought the ideal adventure of sailing around the world.  This evening, as you near the culmination of your global journey, we hope you enjoy celebrating the memories of this voyage.  As an expression of our appreciation, we are pleased to present you with this special memento of World Cruise 2002: Grand Pacific Circle – an elegant black lacquer keepsake box.  May it always be a reminder of the beauties of Asia that you discovered on your travels with us.”


Tuesday, April 23 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Neither one of us slept much last night, so we didn’t finally get up until after 2:00pm.  Rather than bother getting our act together to go out, we just stayed in the room and finished packing the last of the seven boxes.  Then, we called for a bowl of popcorn, which was delivered on a silver tray by a butler.  Something so simple has never been so fancy!

We received disembarkation information for Full World Cruisers.  Customs is coming on board to clear everyone ahead of time, so there just might not be any unusual delays.  We are in the group to disembark at 10:05am.  They have the process down to a science with no waiting or delays.  Guests do not have to vacate their room until fifteen minutes prior to their scheduled disembarkation time and meeting in the Starlite Club.  That avoids lines at breakfast and grumpy crowds all over the lobby.  That is, unless U.S. Customs throws a monkey wrench into the plan at the last minute.

The weather most of the day was cloudy and cool, but relatively calm sailing.  It rained earlier this morning, but we missed it.  Obviously, we don’t care anyway since we won’t leave the cabin until the Captain’s Farewell Party before dinner tonight.  Just about dusk, we sailed into what appears to be a huge rainstorm.

Tonight’s dress code is Formal.  As mentioned, this is the final Captain’s Farewell Party in the Starlite Club.  He already gave his going away speech to the World Cruisers at the dinner the other night.  Since he is transferring to Crystal Serenity, this will be his last farewell party on Crystal Symphony.

David de Havilland caught us just as we were coming out of the elevator and shuffled us in through the side door.  It was his idea, not ours.  We would have behaved and gone through the receiving line otherwise.  We’re not sure what, but something is bothering him.  He is either ill, or something else is wrong.  We heard Ron, the Assistant Cruise Director, asking him if he was well enough to be there.  He was about twenty minutes late, too.

Ron and the Vice Captain asked us when we are coming back.  Both were surprised when we said we will be back on the World Cruise next year.  All of the other “younger” guests seem to be bored to tears, so they must assume we are, too.  Harry joined us just before the speeches started.  Bill asked Elizabeth if James would still be taking the portraits with the Titanic backdrop after the party.  He came back shortly and whispered that he would wait for us. 

We dragged Harry out to impersonate the Captain in the Titanic portrait.  The backdrop doesn’t look like much in person, but it is very realistic in a photo.  We had several “fun” shots taken, plus some regular poses with and without Harry.  The party ran so late that we didn’t make it to dinner until 9:05pm, but half of the Dining Room was also late.


Iced Russian Sevruga Caviar with Traditional Condiments
Pate de Fois Gras with Warm Brioche and Port Wine Gelée
Halibut and Salmon Carpaccio with Summer Greens and Vegetable Vinaigrette
Combination of Tropical Fruits, Sprinkled with Drambuie

From the Soup Kettle
Cream of Mushroom with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Consommé Double with Fois Gras Stuffed Morels

The Captain’s Salad

Refreshing Kir Royal Sherbet

Pasta Special
Capellini Pasta with Light Porcini Mushroom Sauce, Topped with Grilled Scallops

Salad Entrée
Crunchy Garden Greens with Grilled Chicken Breast

Main Fares
Broiled Fresh Maine Lobster
Roasted Stuffed Wild Pheasant Breast
Filet of Beef Wellington
Sautéed Veal Medallions “Provence”

Vegetarian Selection
Irish Cobbler Potato Strudel

The American Institution – Baked Alaska Flambé en Parade
Vanilla Cinnamon Mousse with Lingonberry Sauce
Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse Cake
Tropical Fruit in Season
Plantation Pralines, Truffles, and Petit Fours

Food review:  The soup had HUGE morel mushrooms in it that took up nearly the entire cup.  The soup itself was rather odd.  Jerry said he was going to take a picture of it because we have never ordered consommé before.  We had the salad reconfigured without the artichoke and palm hearts, which made it satisfactory.  The Beef Wellington was good, but sort of dry.  Augusto made Jerry bring more sauce for it, but that was his idea, not ours.  The Baked Alaska is usually ghastly and tonight was no exception.

The chef stopped at our table after the Baked Alaska parade to ask when we are coming back.  He acted pleased that we would be back on the World Cruise again.  We find that hard to believe, but he seemed sincere about it.  Ger was supposed to bring a photo of Jos, but he forgot because he had too good of a time at the Hawaiian crew party last night.

Tonight’s entertainment is “Award-Winning Star of Stage and Screen,” Maureen McGovern in “Swing, Swing, Swing!”  She’s very good, but we didn’t really like the choice of music.  She’s more enthralling when she sings ballads or torch songs, but less so when trying to be Ella Fitzgerald.  By the way, she looks good for 52, but spandex is not an appropriate choice for her.

During the show, the ship began to roll so much that Maureen finally had to take off her heels to prevent falling over on stage.  By bedtime, it had become a big rougher, but no worse than it ever has been the past few weeks.  It is extremely windy outside and that is causing the motion.


Wednesday, April 24 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

Overnight, the weather took a turn for the worse and it was very rough sailing.  Basically all that means is that we didn’t get any sleep again, although we tried valiantly to do so until well after noon.  The stormy part of the weather cleared up by afternoon, but the waves stayed rather large, occasionally causing the ship to shudder as the bow plowed into them.  The temperature has also dropped to about 60.  According to the Captain, it will be like this until we reach San Francisco tomorrow.  He also said that he knew it would be rough last night and today, “but I didn’t want to say anything.”  Personally, we would rather know about it so we can take bottles off of the counters rather than have to do it in the middle of the night.

Once again, we will survive on fruit from the supply in the room and maybe ice cream.  We’ve been sort of trying to cut down on the food intake in anticipation of returning to a normal life, so this is our big effort.

We have a date with Harry to come and show us his vacation photos at 6:00pm.  He called first to be sure we aren’t seasick, but did arrive as scheduled.  In the meantime, Rainer brought some really gross looking Gravlax, plus some nuts and pretzels.  He was still here when Harry arrived, so he made drinks for us.  Big thrill, all of us had soft drinks or water. 

Harry’s photos were interesting, but the TV would only show them in black and white for some reason.  It just made them look more artsy, so it was fine.  He toured all over Australia for almost two months, basically doing all of the tourist spots and some more adventurous things like bungee jumping and climbing Ayer’s Rock.

Tonight’s dress code is Informal.  We didn’t go down to dinner until just before the scheduled time, but that’s mostly because we stopped to tell Susanna and Rosalina not to wait for us to get out of the room tomorrow if they want to go out.  We haven’t decided whether we will pack or stroll around, but in any case we don’t want them to stand in the hallway until 2:00pm on the off chance we will leave.   

Something they said tipped us off to the fact that Crystal is slowly replacing the European stewardesses with Filipinos starting with the lower decks.  We assume that they will reserve the more expensive Europeans for the Penthouse Deck.  Originally, they were all Scandinavian, but they have long since been replaced by women from Eastern Europe for the most part.

Dave gave Rainer the fake gold and diamond watch.  He was amused by it and seemed happy to have it.  It really is a nice watch, but for $12.00 it’s easier to give it away and make someone happy than haul it home again.  Besides, replacing the battery will cost more than the watch itself did.


Sautéed Scallops in Herb Olive Oil, on Vegetable Stew with Saffron Sauce
Forest Mushroom Terrine with Truffle Vinaigrette and Garden Greens
Iced Supreme of Tropical Fruit with Passion Fruit and Grenadine

From the Soup Kettle
Lobster Bisque with Puff Pastry Fleurons
Chicken Consommé “Douglas”
Chilled Cream of Kadota Figs with Non-Fat Yogurt

Spring Lettuce with Onion Rings, Crumbled Blue Cheese, and Toasties
Heart of Iceberg Lettuce with Belgian Endive, Red Oak Leaf, and Radishes

Pasta Special
Bucatini ai Carciofi – Artichokes, Plum Tomatoes, Celery, Carrots, Olive Oil and Garlic

Salad Entrée
Marinated Potato-Greek Salad

Main Fares
Roasted Tom Turkey
Broiled Fresh Sea Bass Fillet
Sautéed Pork Medallions
Grilled T-bone Steak

Vegetarian Selection
Golden Fried Mozzarella Cheese

Honey Glazed Pecan Pie à la Mode
Chocolate Fudge Sheba with Raspberry Sauce
Passion Fruit Mousse with Fudge Sauce
Sugar-Free Mocha Cream Cake
Sugar-Free Filo Cup Filled with Diet Ice Cream and Fresh Fruit
Homemade Cookies
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Freshly Frozen, Non-Fat Banana or Cookies ‘n Cream Yogurt

Food review:  The fruit was OK, but everything else was barely edible.  The soup was the weirdest thing, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on why.  It was just chicken consommé, but there were things chopped up in it that looked like slices of asparagus, but didn’t taste at all like it.  Both entrees were disappointing.  The turkey itself was satisfactory, but everything else on the plate had no taste at all.  The pork was very dry.  We were going to order the two flavors of yogurt mixed together, but Jerry informed us that the flavors available are Raspberry and, “Something yellow, we don’t know what.  But, it’s not banana.”  Just as we were facing this dilemma, Donna sent her waiter over to offer us some of the lemon meringue pie she had special ordered.  Problem solved.  The special order version was a bit better than the usual kind, but only slightly.

Bill brought a jacket that no longer fits him to see if Augusto could wear it.  Nope, too small.  He found another waiter at an adjoining station who it fit perfectly and who was thrilled to get it.

We stopped briefly to chat with Billy, who is also leaving in Los Angeles for his vacation.  He seems to think we are his best friends now, but we have only spoken at length with him maybe three times.  He’s very nice, so we don’t mind being friends with him, it’s just odd.  He wanted to know from Ben, who stopped during our chat, and us, what the “must see” attractions are in San Francisco.  We all agreed on enough of them to keep him busy for the few hours he has there.

Bill offered to bring Mai Tai’s to Jerry and Ger when they finish cleaning.  They can’t get mixed drinks in the crew bar, so they wanted to try something unusual.  Jerry called the room when they were done and we went down to fetch the drinks.  The photo we had taken of all of us together was delivered during dinner, so we brought one down for each of them, which they seemed thrilled with.  They were eager to get the drinks, too, but Jerry wanted to chat.  It wasn’t about anything exciting, just normal life stuff that he doesn’t get the chance to talk about to his coworkers.  He said that San Francisco was the first American city he ever saw, so he loves it.  Ger has never been there, so we told him it’s like Amsterdam in California.

Tonight’s entertainment was scheduled to be the debut of the new Gershwin production show, “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” but it has been cancelled due to the rough weather.  So, we have “Yet Another Piano Performance!  (See? Sometimes Pianists are Useful…)  An Evening with Australia’s Renowned Variety Pianist, Bernard Walz, playing the few remaining piano melodies not yet heard on this World Cruise!”

We were going to pack up one big suitcase tonight, but never got around to it.  The weather calmed down considerably during dinner, so we are now gently rocking rather than bouncing.  If the sun is out tomorrow, it should be spectacular in San Francisco just after a rain.

Along with our regular photo purchase, we also received a “thank you” photo of the staff of the Photo Shop.   From left to right are Dean, Elizabeth, Sherry and JamesAlso, we got certificates verifying that we have completed the Grand Pacific Circle World Cruise 2002 on Crystal Symphony.

Here is a photo we just received of the Starlite Club as it was set up for the World Cruise Gershwin Society Dinner.

Thursday, April 25 – San Francisco, California, USA – 8 AM-4:45 PM

Sailing under the famed Golden Gate Bridge is an unforgettable experience and is naturally a highlight of your visit to San Francisco.

Upon arrival you will discover why this metropolis is one of the most diverse, dynamic and beautiful cities in the world.  As the Gateway to the Orient, San Francisco is a melting pot of cultures and an important financial center of the world.  Hellenic in its setting and climate, European in its intellectual and cultural scope, American in its vigor and informality and Asian in its tranquility, San Francisco is indeed one of the most beautiful and exciting cities of the world.

Opportunities for discovery abound.  Stroll though Chinatown, shop at Union Square or browse through Fisherman’s Wharf.  Or perhaps, the attractions of North Beach will beckon.  Sip cappuccino at a sidewalk café, feast on Italian food or browse through tempting specialty stores.

Across the Golden Gate Bridge hide giant redwoods and the artistic Sausalito.  Farther afield is the great Napa Valley, bedecked with an array of world-class wineries and orchards.

Whatever your choice, San Francisco’s distinctive charm engenders a special affection in the hearts of all who visit.

We finally got some sleep for the first time in a couple of days.  Even so, we didn’t bother going out at all until we needed food in the late afternoon.  The weather is clear, cool and beautiful, but extremely windy.  No wonder it has been so rough.  There are even whitecaps in San Francisco Bay!

Our lunch from the Trident Grill resulted in extreme fawning from the Deck Stewards.  Obviously, they received our tip!  You’d think we gave each of them $1,000 by the way they react, but maybe most people don’t give them anything?  FYI, we give a lump sum of $500 to be divided among all of them, plus the ice cream and hamburger guys.  That’s about $30 per person.  These guys work harder than anyone on board and get paid the least, so we feel they deserve every penny they can get.

The waterfront area from the cruise terminal to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf has been beautifully redeveloped with landscaping and sculptures, plus a wide promenade.  It really boosts the appearance of this part of town.  A trolley run parallel to the shore, so it is an easy matter to traverse the waterfront to see the sights.  Not that we did that, of course, but it would have been easy had we bothered.  It’s not that we didn’t have time, but we would have just shopped and bought more stuff we could easily buy at home, so what’s the point?  If the ship hadn’t sailed at 4:45pm, it would have been a different story.  Most people we overheard said they would rather not have stopped at all and had more time in Hawaii.  That is even though most people love San Francisco.

We hauled ourselves up to the VERY windy Sun Deck to watch the sail away.  They played “San Francisco” when we sailed, plus the usual tunes, which was a nice touch.  It was way too windy to stand out on the front of the ship, so we hid with Nikki behind one of the glass screens.  The view of Alcatraz (close up) and the city were well worth staying out for and many people did brave the cold and wind to see it.

The Golden Gate Bridge is plainly visible in the distance from the port, as are many of the city’s landmark structures and the Bay Bridge.  It’s nice that this part of the city hasn’t been redeveloped with glass skyscrapers.  It looks exactly as it always has except for the nicely redone streetscape.  Most of the old brick buildings have been restored to house offices and shops, which also adds to the ambience.

Crystal Symphony was escorted out of the bay by two Coast Guard cutters, as is the usual procedure in U.S. ports these days.  We assume the same delays as during arrival in Honolulu occurred this morning because the ship was stopped for quite a while at around 6:00am.  The U.S. is taking no chances with arriving cruise ships.

Here are some shots from the sailing:  Leaving the City Behind, Approaching the Bridge, Getting Closer, Even Closer to the Bridge, Under the Bridge, Outside the Bridge Right, Outside the Bridge Left, Close-up.

After passing under the Golden Gate, we moved to the aft of the ship to watch as we sailed away from shore.  The last time we did this, the hills were brown and ugly, but they are green and lush at the moment.  No wonder the crew thinks this is such a beautiful city.  It is, of course, but they are extremely in love with it.

We asked Rainer for the rest of our luggage so we can get it done tonight and tomorrow.  Our huge suitcase is already done and ready to go to the luggage hold.  We gave him the stack of Conde Naste Traveler we have been dragging on cruises for years.  We read exactly ONE of them this entire time.  No way we are hauling them home again.  He was thrilled to get them.  We’ll also give some of our free champagne and wine (from the mini bar) to the Photo Shop Staff and some others.  We also have a candy supply to dole out to those who are staying for another few cruises.  Most of the crew we know are leaving in Los Angeles for their vacations or forever, depending upon who you ask.  Packing to go home is certainly easier when there is no flying involved.  Just open the case and dump everything in.  Sit on it, and you’re done!

Tomorrow’s Reflections program has an itinerary change announcement for next year’s World Cruise.  Gee, that was fast!  They have added an extended stay in Tahiti rather than the waste of time we had this year, so we can take shore excursions to Moorea and Bora Bora.  Also, they have ditched the stop in Tonga (which everyone hated) for a longer stay Huahine and a new stop, Raiatea.  It was said that the changes were a result of, “…our World Cruisers’ valuable comments to Crystal Cruises President Gregg Michel earlier this cruise….”  In other words, we complained so much they didn’t want to hear it again next year.

Tonight’s dress code is Informal (was Casual, don’t you just hate it when they change it at the last minute?)  Seems they don’t think casual attire is suitable for the debut of their new production show tonight.  By the way, we only have about 150 miles to travel to Los Angeles and there is still a full day at sea before that (we usually travel 300 miles per day), so we are barely moving tonight.  That is being done in part to keep it smooth sailing for the show.


Gulf Shrimp in Root Vegetable Aspic with Crisp Greens and Chive Vinaigrette
Breaded Crab Cakes on Tomato Salad with Fresh Basil
Spanish Tapas:  Octopus Salad, Prosciutto, Marinated Tuna, Mussels, Clams, Roasted Bell Peppers, Sardines, and Artichokes
Chilled Fruit Cup with Pineapple, Mango, and Orange Curacao

From the Soup Kettle
Cream of Broccoli with Sliced Mushrooms
Consommé Double Andalouse
Chilled Cream of Pear with Cinnamon Cream

Heart of Boston Lettuce with Orange Slice and Blue Grapes
Tossed Iceberg Lettuce with Blue cheese Dressing and Fried Oysters

Pasta Special
Spaghetti Pesto Pomodoro e Basilico

Salad Entrée
Sliced Tomatoes and Mozzarella with Garden Greens, Topped with Filet Mignon

Main Fares
Grilled Swordfish Steak
California Cioppino
Grilled Lamb Chops with Forest Mushrooms
Sautéed Veal Scaloppini “Sorrento”

Vegetarian Selection
Fresh Garden Vegetables with Light Cream Sauce

Almond Cheesecake with Sour Cream and Fruit Sauce
Caramel Chocolate Mille Feuille
Soft Berry Jell-O with Apricot Sherbet and Muscato Sabayon
Sugar-Free Lime Cake
Sugar-Free Apple Streusel Tartlet
Homemade Cookies
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Freshly Frozen Non-Fat Peach or Cookies ‘n Cream Yogurt

Food review:  The soup and salad were very good.  Pasta was satisfactory.  The swordfish was very dry and the sauce of chopped onions and tomatoes didn’t taste like anything.  Neither of us finished it.  We decided that they are trying to make us glad to go home after the past few nights of mediocre food.

Jerry made strawberries over ice cream for us again.  It was the perfect night for it because we didn’t want any of the available desserts.  Mario saw him making it and asked if it was Strawberries Romanoff.  No, it’s just strawberries and sugar (like we asked for).  Oh my God, that will never do!  Why didn’t we get baby strawberries grown especially in the forest?  (No kidding, that’s really what he said!)  No thanks, this is fine.  What’s in it?  Just sugar?  Oh my God, that will never do!  Get some vodka and marinate them first.  No, this is what we want.  Then, Augusto tried to change it to strawberries marinated in vinegar.  Geez, give it up already.  We’re sick of fancy.  Jerry even said, “They like it because it is SIMPLE.”  Anyway, we told Jerry it is the best dessert we have had for 100 days, which thrilled him.  It’s true, too.

Jerry said not to bring Ger any more drinks because he got drunk and almost couldn’t make it to breakfast (he was kidding.)  They both said they really liked the Mai Tai’s we brought them and especially the photos.  We’re never sure if the waiters really care or if they are just being nice, but we believe both of them did like them.

After dinner, we dragged Jerry aside and gave him some copies of menus from restaurants around our city.  He said a while ago that he would be interested to see what is actually served in restaurants in the U.S.  We also gave him the Fossil watch we bought for him in Hawaii.  He said we had done enough already and he could never thank us enough.  Wait until he sees the bonus we added to their tips!

Tonight’s entertainment is the premier of “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” a tribute to the music of George and Ira Gershwin.  As you will recall, this show was postponed last night due to rough weather.  Well, we finally got to see this show.  It didn’t suck, exactly.  Parts of it did, particularly the very boring opening act.  Luckily, this cast is very good, but boy will that number be awful down the road!  It is tap dancing with no music, so the dancers have to be outstanding (which the current cast is). 

Essentially, this is a reworked production of “Cole” using Gershwin music.  Well, one exception being that this show isn’t as classy and every single costume, and we’re not exaggerating here, is the ugliest thing we have ever seen.  No kidding, it looks like a Technicolor factory blew up.  Either that or someone drank Day-Glo paint and vomited.  Remember the orange and purple top hat and tails outfits we previewed?  Picture that on an entire cast.  And in one number, the girls wear scull caps encrusted with Austrian crystals.  That part is attractive, but the costumes, sort of flapper-esque, are bright yellow and green.  Oh, and considering that the handbags in the shops constructed with the same Austrian crystals cost $5,000 plus, just imagine the cost of handmade hats!

To be fair, the cast does a very good job with the material at hand.  The problem is that the costumes don’t coordinate in the slightest with the music.  Have you ever seen the abject poverty of “Porgy and Bess” portrayed by people wearing silk tuxedos?  Well, we have.  Anyway, it’s not terrible.  We would rank it on the level of “Symphony of Nations”, which is about in the center of the spectrum of their shows.

After the show, we had to listen to a litany of self-congratulatory speeches and watch Gretchen and Kathy (finally remembered her name) come up and be eulogized.  The real problem with the shows is that these two women design all of them from start to finish.  What they like, we are supposed to like, regardless of the fact that all of the shows look pretty much the same.  If there aren’t women with beaded hair pieces and men in blue and yellow silk tuxedos, it’s not a Crystal show!

We talked to Felix, then Keiko, briefly on the way out.  Artie came over and was excited to get our address card.  He was dashing for the restroom, so we didn’t talk very long.  Mel and Barbara stopped to ask how we liked the show and, of course, Mel carried on because we didn’t absolutely adore it.  In case you haven’t figured it out by now, Mel is one of those people who thinks everything is the most fabulous thing he has ever seen.

The ship is still sailing so slowly it really feels as though we aren’t moving at all.  The wind seems to have died down, so there is basically no motion at all tonight.


Friday, April 26 – Cruising the Pacific Ocean

We’re sailing along this morning under rainy skies.  Actually, sailing is an exaggeration.  It’s more like floating because we are barely moving.  Eleven knots to be exact (we have been averaging 19-20 knots this cruise).  Obviously, they are killing time at this point.

Although we would have preferred to sleep later than we did, nonetheless we are up and at ‘em at 10:30am.  That means we’ll get a real lunch today.


Avocado Fan with Baby Shrimp, Prawns, and European Cocktail Sauce
Tuna Fish and Celery Salad on Radicchio Leaves
Tomato, Basil, and Goat Cheese Tart
Chilled Fruit Cup with Yogurt Pineapple Topping

From the Soup Kettle
Spicy Corn and Crab Soup
Chicken Broth with Poached Eggs
Chilled Cream of Sour Cherries

Heart of Boston Lettuce with Marinated Kernel Corn Salad

Pasta Special
Linguini Vongole – Fresh Clams, Garlic, White Wine, and Cream

Salad Entrees
Salmon Niçoise Salad
Californian Cobb Salad

Main Fares
Grilled Filet Mignon
Captain’s Favorite Seafood Basket
Old Fashioned Chicken in the Pot
Beef Burritos

Traditional Vienna Style Tafelspitz

Vegetarian Selection
Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Cous Cous, Mushrooms and Pine Nuts

Carrot Cake à la Mode
Floating Island on Fruit Mirror
Viennese Ice Coffee
Sugar-Free Vanilla Éclair

Food review:  The soup would have been better without the chopped cherry skins, but it was edible.  The chicken, which is really like a chunky chicken noodle soup, is usually much better than it was today.  The noodles weren’t completely cooked and the broth was flavorless.  The burritos, although nothing one would recognize as the real thing, were very good.  Dessert was good, as well.

Ger seated us at our regular table, but Jerry is off today, so we had another waiter, Stephen, who was very friendly.  Ger said he would have had a whole different outlook on working here if he had been his waiter all this time.  He told us that he leaves the ship at 11:00am tomorrow and flies home at 3:00pm.  He has also informed Crystal that he will not be coming back, although he did say that he’s glad he tried it.  But, he missed Jos too much and he doesn’t think it’s worth it to be away for so long.

We spent the rest of the afternoon packing, which was quite easy as a matter of fact.  It was easy packing to come and it’s easier still to leave.  We are even less one suitcase that we just packed inside a larger one.  Don’t get all excited, we packed some shoes and big jackets in our boxes of treasures, so we didn’t really give away all that much.  Actually, our bags weren’t completely stuffed to begin with.  There was just no need to limit ourselves since we didn’t have to fly at the beginning or end.  Now the only trick is to convince Customs tomorrow that most of what we bought is “art.”

Dave went up during a break in the packing to get ice cream and was fawned over by Chris, the ice cream guy.  He wanted to know when we would be back.  These people probably pencil in their capital expenditures when they know we are coming.

Rainer arrived with our usual snacks, but we turned him down.  Well, we did keep the BBQ potato chips.  One must have sustenance you know.  He told us that many crewmembers who claim they are not coming back, usually do.  He took two years off after Royal Viking went out of business before coming to Crystal as a waiter (which he hated).  He has been a butler for five years now and loves it.  He offered to help with packing, but we had already put five of the bags in the hallway.  By the way, the butlers will completely unpack and repack your bags if you so desire.  Neither of us can imagine letting them do that, but someone probably does.  It also looks good to say it in the brochure even if no one takes advantage of it.

The U.S. Coast Guard has thrown the crew into a tizzy by demanding a safety inspection tomorrow of all days.  250 crewmembers are leaving, but they have to stay until the inspection is over (starts at 10:00am).  Besides that, it is a major disembarkation day plus embarkation for a sold out cruise.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Tonight’s dress code is Casual.  There was a Yearbook Signing Party for World Cruise guests tonight before dinner, but we decided that we only like four people, so why force ourselves to participate?  We used to make more of an effort to be friendly, but we just didn’t want to get stuck with anyone for 100 days.  So, we quite successfully kept everyone we did meet at enough of a distance that they didn’t try to involve us in any activities.

By the time dinner rolled around, the ship was moving so slowly that the waves are going faster than we are.  We’re not really sure if we are moving or there is just a current flowing south!  We spied Mel and Barbara sitting in the Cove while we were waiting for the Dining Room to open so we went over to be polite and do the goodbye thing.  They were thrilled we did that.

Billy told us that we have to come by and see him in the morning no matter what.  He is leaving tomorrow, but he has to work until 10:00am.  They sure do squeeze every last minute out of these people.


Chilled Lobster Cocktail with American Cocktail Sauce
Ragout of Morels, Chicken, and Asparagus in Puff Pastry Bouchons
French Goat Cheese Stuffed Eggplant Rolls on Tomato Salsa and Summer Greens
Selected Fruit Marinated in Campari with Kiwi and Strawberry

From the Soup Kettle
Cream of Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Peppers
Veal Consommé with Cheese Ravioli
Chilled Green Gazpacho

Mesclun of Lettuce with Gorgonzola Croutons and Walnut Vinaigrette
Traditional Caesar Salad

Pasta Special
Elbow Macaroni alla Cecca

Salad Entrée
Californian Greens with Grilled Portabella Mushrooms Topped with Lamp Chops

Main Fares
Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Stuffed Leg of Lamb
Broiled Fillet of Salmon
Chinese Sweet and Sour Prawns
Black Pepper Crusted Grilled Filet Steak

Vegetarian Selection
Sautéed Vegetables Stuffed in Filo Pastry Pockets

Chocolate Mocha Mousse Cake with Raspberry Sauce
Rhubarb Streusel Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream
Tiramisu “Venezia” with Espresso Sauce
Sugar-Free Hazelnut Cream Cake
Sugar-Free Raspberry Cream Puff
Homemade Cookies
Assortment of Fruit in Season
Freshly Frozen Non-Fat Strawberry Yogurt

Food review:  Tonight’s meal was a great way to end the cruise.  Everything was outstanding, especially the dessert, which was incredible.  The Sweet and Sour Prawns were so good that after Bill had an appetizer portion he cancelled his salmon entrée and ordered a full serving.

Jerry and Ger were overjoyed with the bonus tips we gave them on their accounts.  Jerry was really beside himself.  He said he wanted to wear the watch we gave him tonight, but he didn’t have time to take a link out of it.  We didn’t care, but he seemed to really want to honor us by wearing it.  We had a nice chat, as usual, with both of them.  So long that the rest of the Dining Room had left and they were collecting the tablecloths.  Jerry got sort of choked up when we left.  Ger said he has never had guests such as us.  We assume that was a compliment.

Tonight’s entertainment is nothing except Big Band dancing in the Galaxy Lounge because they assume everyone wants to hang out with their friends and/or go to bed early.  They are probably correct.

We ran into Mel and Barbara in the lobby listening to the Champagne Strings and he coerced us into going for a drink in the Avenue Saloon.  That bar is way too loud and cramped since they cut it in half, but we figured it would be OK for an hour or so.  John Mentis, the pianist there, is very good, but it’s too loud and full of staff members to hear him.  We chatted for a while as best we could considering that Mel can’t hear anyway, plus the loud music.  They gave each of us some gold-plated coins they had earmarked for someone else, but then couldn’t find tonight.  The lead singer from the Crystal Ensemble got up and belted out a song that was so loud all conversation stopped.  Once again, the staff takes over a bar and pushes the guests aside.

Barbara said that the Repertory at Sea trio only had about 20 people at each show and the ratings aren’t very good.  In other words, they suck.  Too bad Crystal has advertised them as being a permanent fixture from now on.  We never heard anything about them good or bad until now, but the small audience alone says a lot.

Although the ship arrives in San Pedro at 6:00am tomorrow, disembarkation is not expected to begin until 9:00am.  From 7:00am – 8:30am, those of us who exceeded the $400 Customs allowance must show up to be inspected.  We really expected them to make us show up at 7:00am exactly, so this is a pleasant surprise under the circumstances.  Apparently, it finally dawned on someone that almost all of the World Cruisers and many of the segment guests will exceed the limit because the inspection was moved from the tiny Bridge Lounge to the huge Palm Court.  You sort of wonder if anyone here has done this before.

The purchases we will declare amount to about $5,000 between us ($3,000 being one item).  All except $179 of it are bona fide art or handicrafts, so we hope to get away with a minimal customs duty, if any.  Since it is all at the whim of the customs officer, you never know.


Saturday, April 27 – Los Angeles, California, USA – Arrive 6 AM

Someday, a cruise line will invent a way to avoid making their guests get up at the crack of dawn to disembark, but until then Crystal is doing an admirable job of making it painless.  Our disembarkation time is scheduled at 10:05am, which is certainly reasonable, but we have to report to Customs in the Palm Court between 7:00am and 8:30am.  Everyone who has exceeded their $400 exemption must pass this inspection before the ship will be cleared to unload luggage and passengers.  We estimate that 90% of the guests did exceed their limit which is something one would expect after a long cruise.  This segment alone was over 30 days.

We got up at 7:00am with the intention of showing up at the inspection around 8:00am.  Although we didn’t know it until later when it was announced, the ship arrived an hour late because there were other ships blocking the way to the dock.  This may have been the gigantic Star Princess that is moored at the terminal from which we started.

Since we are docked, we went ahead and went up to Palm Court to find the line stretching from one door all the way to the other side of the elevator lobby, about 30 feet.  And, that doesn’t include the other 50 feet of line inside the room.  No matter, we’ll just wait and see what happens.  In the meantime, the "bitchiest woman on earth" is on the phone calling the front office to inform them of a better way to do it.  Let’s make this clear, CUSTOMS DOES NOT CARE WHAT WE WANT.  Don’t bother complaining, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Most people were just standing there chatting and vaguely complaining about the slapdash manner the government uses to accomplish otherwise simple tasks.  When a woman came back from eating and found her place saver had only moved two feet in 50 minutes, we decided it was time to eat breakfast and come back at the last minute.

The best thing about Crystal’s disembarkation policy is that guests do not have to vacate their cabin until they are ready to leave.  So, there’s no hand luggage to haul around and no crowds in the public rooms.  That included the Lido, which was nearly empty.  We had a light breakfast, with Ger standing beside our table chatting the entire time.  Apparently he doesn’t want us to go or something, but he’s leaving at 11:30am, too.

The Captain announced the ridiculous crew fire drill for 10:00am that was called by the Coast Guard.  This is the drill that even Ger, who is leaving literally 30 minutes afterwards, still has to attend.

By this time, it was about 8:45am, so we went back to find the end of the line only slightly shorter than it was when we were there an hour before.  We had no choice but to get in line and wait at this point, so that’s what we did.  Miss Travel Writer came up behind us, but she seemed relatively pleasant for a change.  She didn’t like standing there, but neither did anyone else, so what’s to be done?  Nothing, so why bother complaining?  Most people within earshot weren’t being obnoxious.

At first, there were only three inspectors, but two more arrived at about the time we got there the second time.  Still, it took until 9:30am for us to reach the front of the line.  Some people took only a few minutes, but others, including the "bitchiest woman on earth" we mentioned before, were making a scene.  Word of advice, smile and act dumb and you’ll get away with anything!  Argue and you are screwed.

When we reached the front of the line, the jolly inspector at the end of the table called out, “Next victim!”  We were glad to get him because he was the only one who seemed friendly.  We went up together and announced that since our stuff is all mixed together we will talk about both forms at once.  He asked if we were a family with the same last name, but we said, “We’re a family, but we don’t have the same name.”  That wasn’t a problem, he just wanted to clarify the issue.

At first he said, “This is easy, deduct $400 and you have $700 left, so that’s $29.”  That wasn’t unreasonable except that would mean some big bucks on the other form where we declared over $4,000.  So, Dave politely suggested that he didn’t think art was dutiable.  Another word of advice, don’t use the word “crystal,” or “ceramic” when describing art.  They immediately think it is glassware or dishes.  Dave asked him to look it up in his list, which he did.  Then he said, “OH, I see what you mean.”  OK, no duty on that form!  Next form was scarier because we had a very expensive Lalique crystal item we described as a sculpture.  Actually, it’s a vase, but there is a sort of sculpture on the side of it, so it’s not a complete exaggeration.  Anyway, when we pointed out, rather firmly, that we purchased everything in a gallery, he said, “I hate to collect duty, I’m really a narcotics officer.  Duty waived!”  See, it pays to be firm and knowledgeable, but let the officer think he figured it out, don’t TELL him.  So, we paid no duty at all.

By this time our disembarkation time was up, but we know that there are still people waiting for customs.  So, we strolled down to the Starlite Club to inquire about the delay so we would know when to come back.  Answer was about 30 minutes, but we decided to come back in 45 instead.  All of the World Cruise guests are meeting in the Starlite Club while all others are in the Galaxy Lounge.  The main difference is that all World Cruisers get private limo transfer to either the airport or their residence, so it’s more time consuming.

We went back up to the room to get our stuff together.  Susanna had asked us to come see her so she could, “Kiss and hug you before you leave.”  We agreed to do that, but she had to run when the fire drill started.  We were in the middle of talking to Billy when he had to run also.  He is leaving in an hour, too.  Isn’t that ridiculous?

Once we had all our stuff together, we wandered back down to the Starlite Club.  We had seen from our verandah that they had started to disembark the segment guests and people with early flights, so at least we know something is finally happening.

We chatted with Dick and Eloise about a variety of things and got their address in case we decide to go up there to check out new housing possibilities.  They are booked on the next World Cruise, but Eloise firmly said, “We are not going.”  That’s too bad because they are very nice.  They’ll be on the Crystal Serenity Inaugural which will be fun with them, so we’ll take what we can get.

Enough time passed that Dave went back up to find Susanna and fulfill our promise to say goodbye to her.  She thought we had left, so she was overjoyed when he showed up looking for her.  She asked, “So, did you like me?”  When Dave said yes, she replied, “Oh good!  I liked you guys, too!”  Rosalina was even exuberantly friendly, which is unusual for her.

Back in the Starlite Club, the wait was about another 45 minutes.  Lara went around hugging everyone and saying her farewells to everyone, which was nice.  We finally disembarked at around 11:45pm, but in the order that was scheduled.  Since we didn’t have a flight to catch, we didn’t really care, but some people were quite agitated.

Getting to the terminal was no problem and there were Crystal reps in the terminal to vaguely point toward the luggage.  They do a reasonably good job of arranging the luggage so guests can find it.  It did take us a few minutes to find all of the boxes because some tags had come off and they were put aside.

The next task was to engage two of the surly porters to haul everything outside and find our transportation.  Eventually one of the Crystal people retrieved the porters and we headed outside.  All we had to do was hand in our customs form to the same people who were inside originally, and walk down the row of waiting cars and vans.

Many drivers were holding up signs with names, but we didn’t see ours.  So, we kept walking down the line until we found a big van with our names in the window, but no driver.  That was enough for the porters to dump all of our stuff on the curb.  We waited only a few minutes before someone came over.  It was so chaotic that people who had disembarked long before we did were still waiting for their cars.

We thought that maybe they would cram us in the van with the luggage, but they really did have a limo just for us.  The van followed us home, so it arrived at the same time.  Our driver said it was such a mess because the delay caused people to be late for the airport, so some of the cars just took whoever they could get to the airport, regardless of the assigned name.  Of course, that caused quite a lot of unavoidable confusion.  We left many people who had flights standing on the curb, some of them screaming and waving their arms to no avail.

The drive home took less than an hour, being a Saturday with no traffic.  How convenient is that?

It was great to arrive and find our front yard alive with new flowers!  That was only the tip of the iceberg, as the back yard was also planted anew.  If Bev and Dick keep this up, we’ll go away more often!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Once all of the luggage was crammed into the garage by the drivers, we closed the door and snuck in through the laundry room to see what Jake had to say about our return.  At first, he jumped back and barked to protect Bev from these big intruders.  But, suddenly the light went on in his mind and he nearly passed out with joy.  In just a few minutes, he went right back to the routine and antics he uses with us.  Is he smart, or what?  He doesn’t seem to be annoyed with us or anything, which is great.  It’s not as though we left him with strangers, but since we had never left him before we weren’t really sure how he would be.  No need for fear, he’s fine.  He even posed for a photo before Bev left for home.

Click SUMMARY to read our concluding thoughts and summary of ports.

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